Consumer Reports recently cited issues with the PowerShift dual-clutch transmission in the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta as one of the primary reasons behind the automaker's fall from grace in its annual Car Reliability Study, but according to The New York Times, the automaker has already worked to solve most of the problems with the gearboxes. Ford has issued a number of technical service bulletins designed to improve drivability at low speeds. On September 13, Ford sent its dealers a bulletin describing how to reprogram the powertrain control module for "smoother acceleration, reduced hesitation, better low-speed drivability and improved shift scheduling."

In addition, a separate bulletin sent out on September 2 specifically dealt with harsh gear changes in the Fiesta. Like its larger sibling, dealers were instructed to reprogram the transmission for better performance. Still, those fixes come too late for Ford in the Consumer Reports' report. We'll have to wait until next year to see if the changes improve the Blue Oval's ranking.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 123 Comments
      Ralph Waldo Emerson
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have the solution: A one-clutch transmission.. .Then it's the driver's fault if there is a "driveability issue."
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't know how Ford will get around this. VW has the most mature dual-clutch system out there and it shuffles at parking lot speeds too. I don't see how short of a torque converter you can avoid this.
      Temple
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is only so much a software update can do. Low-speed drive-ability issues are an inherit feature of dual-clutch transmissions. Especially throttle-finesse situations where clutch engagement is only as smooth as the robotics doing the work. Which makes sub-5mph a little choppy compared to the torque-converter the average slush-box driver is used to. Which is why Mazda, former Ford partner, is using a torque-converter below-5mph, and a DCT setup above 5mph on their new SkyActiv Drive transmissions. Basically, have torque converter built into a DCT gearbox only for low-speed situations.
        dukeisduke
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Temple
        Regarding the Mazda gearbox, doesn't adding a TC increase weight and complexity, and add packaging issues? Adding the TC adds length to the transmission (what, three or four inches?), which could be an issue on a small car. Also, what's the projected life of the clutches on DG gearboxes? I would think they'd wear out, like a clutch on a manual gearbox car. Potentially $$$ in repairs.
          nardvark
          • 3 Years Ago
          @dukeisduke
          Because the torque converter is only used below 5mph, it doesn't need to be as heavy-duty as a full-time torque converter. So yes, it adds weight, but not as much as you suggest.
        Bryan Pizzuti
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Temple
        Yep. Love Mazda. One or the other? Why not both? Bwa ha ha. However, in fairness, Ford has managed to get 5 more HP out of their 2L engine for pretty much the same FE. Haven't compared the torque curves for both though.
        tipdrip215
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Temple
        Last I heard, Ford and Mazda still planned to work together despite the fact that Ford sold off most of its Mazda stake. If this is true, Ford ought to send some engineers over to check out Mazda's setup.
      Matthew
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is good that Ford has most likely fixed the problem with reprogramming. But just letting dealers now about it in a technical bulletin doesn't fix the problem. Not all customers that already have bought that car with this problem probably know about this service update. Also most people also don't really come back to dealers to get their cars serviced unless it is under warranty to get something fixed. The transmission grinding or shifting hard or holding gears to long, how good can that be for the transmission. That scares away customers and future customers if they think they are not getting a reliable car.
      The Gifted One
      • 1 Month Ago

      Easy fix. I just got a lawyer involved in this for my new 2011 Ford Fiesta. First time I noticed the shuddering and jerking of the car when trying to speed up from a stopped position was around January of 2013. I took the car in to Ford dealer and they said it was a firmware issue and updated it. Didn't fix anything. I took it back and they said the clutch was leaking. They replaced it. Worked fine for about 2 months then the jerking returned. Took it back and they said clutch was leaking again and they replaced it again. Then recently my right rear door just swung open while driving. Took it in. They replaced a defective latch (Apparently this is happening all over the country). Today I took it in again for jerking issue. Ford replacing the clutch for 3rd time. We are filing a lawsuit under the Lemon Law. I recommend that anyone that owns a Ford Fiesta and is experiencing these issues, do the same.   

      Walt
      • 3 Years Ago
      No matter what any domestic auto maker does, it will never satisfy Consumer Distorts. Their "survey" of owners is not a random sampling and isn't even linked to actual owners of the vehicle. In reality it is just a magazine for aging baby boomers that need to have their choice of Asian cars validated because they were never able to do anything in life without someone holding their hand.
        walletclan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Or the fact that American vehicles are built like crap because huge overhead costs and pension liabilities have made them cut corners in all areas of production....
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          @walletclan
          yep, and snapping camshafts, rusty frames oil sludge and massive recalls only apply to domestics as well dont they.....
          Walt
          • 3 Years Ago
          @walletclan
          Wrong decade. Now it's Toyota that is cutting supplier expense 30% in an effort to remain profitable. http://www.autoblog.com/2011/10/10/toyota-urges-suppliers-to-slash-prices-or-be-left-behind/ While it might work in the short run, history has shown that in the long run Toyota will not survive in its current form.
          Walt
          • 3 Years Ago
          @walletclan
          Urchin (good name) we're talking FORD here.
          tipdrip215
          • 3 Years Ago
          @walletclan
          10 years ago, you would've been right. But GM and Ford stopped screwing around toward the middle of the decade, and Chrysler got serious when Fiat took them over.
        Adrian
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Agreed. They deal in no way with overall customer satisfaction of actual owners or long-term reliability. Many of their so-called "reliability" tests have been proven wrong over the long-term.
          NC1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Adrian
          Why do you say it doesn't measure long term reliability? You get a survey where they ask you about your car every year, and they ask for repair information from cars up to 10 years old or so. How much longer term are you looking for? And why do you say it doesn't deal with actual owners? Are you another one like Walt that thinks subscribers are making up fake data for cars they don't own just for laughs? What would be their incentive to do so?
        NC1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Biased much there Walt? If Consumer Reports is never satisfied with an American car, how was Ford's reliability rated high until the recent downgrade? And why did they downrate Toyota when they had their problems? And why have they knocked recent Honda offerings as being worse than their predecessors? And if you seriously think people are falsely reporting reliability on cars they don't own (or do you think Toyota and Honda each have a zillion subscriptions just so they can send in fake data?) then you are probably also wearing a tin foil hat as we speak.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Years Ago
        driveabilty concerns and noise dont constitute broken Matt.....theres issues, but not side of the road issues.....
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          [blocked]
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          write this down Matt....its software based...the transmission acts electronically so shifts CAN be smoothed out through re-flashes....its NOT BROKEN.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          [blocked]
        donnieorama
        • 3 Years Ago
        It ISN'T broken. It's the 'tards driving the Focus/Fiesta who don't have any experience with automated manual transmissions.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @donnieorama
          [blocked]
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          @donnieorama
          ever heard of re-calibration Matt? Even your beloved Chevy has had re-flashes over the years...its a consequence of everything being controlled electronically...
          Tiberius1701
          • 3 Years Ago
          @donnieorama
          Can't reflash a '76 Vega. Matt, mom's calling again, time to take out the garbage.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @donnieorama
          [blocked]
        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Years Ago
        Ps, I have one, and its fine 10000 miles not a hiccup.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          [blocked]
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          wrong, I bought them because currently they fit my needs, they also drive better than the competition, get better mileage, are safe as all get out, have more features than the competition, are quieter and ride better.....and ya know Matt I give you the benefit of the doubt most of the time, but uyou sure can be a total douche most of the time...you wear vote downs on your sleve like badges of honor...thats NOT what they actually reflect.
      NissanGTR
      • 3 Years Ago
      So where are you Nissan GTR faulty transmission haters? The transmission had zero faults until it was abused with consecutive launches. Ford's is faulty under normal use.
        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Years Ago
        @NissanGTR
        no its not faulty, so far i know of no-one STRANDED due to failure, a few have drivabilty issues and thats what is being adressed....and since when did the GTR only have 120hp....
        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Years Ago
        @NissanGTR
        says something to have a supercar mentioned in the same sentence as a Fiesta doesnt it?....lol
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @NissanGTR
        You can buy 1.4 Fiestas for the price of the GTR transmission. Placing the two up against each other makes little sense.
      John S
      • 3 Years Ago
      So is anything actually "wrong" with the transmission or is it just "different"? I think a lot gets lost in these kinds of issues because what CU (and the general population) considers "reliability" is another issue too. To me "reliability" is what is the %of the time that you go out to start the car and it starts, or put it in gear and it goes. Reliability and whether or not something meets your expectations for design or performance are different things. This is one of the reasons why I dislike CR because they have a small survey sample (FWIW, I was a CR subscriber for years and never got a survey), and any complaint about anything translates to "unreliable".
        gnvlscdt23f
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John S
        It's like this: if it's making noises and it's like the car is going to stall, you probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place. Now you're at the dealer all the time while they try to fix the issues by applying software updates and the like. During this time, you couldn't rely on your car to get you to work and have to line up some other arrangement to get to work. Even if you get a loaner, you have to get there in time to pick it up and still get to work. Owners of other cars didn't have to do this. You make it sound SO UNFAIR that this shows up in CR's survey, but it's not unfair. This kind of stuff is a PITA and not what someone shelling out even $15K for a brand new car should have to put up with. The survey period is for the previous year and this happened then. Next year if Ford clears this up, it won't show up. This is the kind of data people are looking for: will I be at the dealer or not, not just if it starts are not. These are new cars; if it were a Fairmont, and it cranked, sure anyone would be happy. But that's not what we're talking about and it's not unfair or unreasonable that stuff that sends the average buyer scurrying back to the dealer ends up in CR's survey.
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          @gnvlscdt23f
          its all about inconveiience....hell people complain having to come in for oil changes..no wonder they are annoyed....
      Lachmund
      • 3 Years Ago
      CR is a joke anyway
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lachmund
        [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          what exactly does your Dad drive Matt, do share, this should be a hoot.......
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          explains why CRs the one that dropped their rating right?...come on Matt, you can do better than that
          Oscar
          • 3 Years Ago
          Your "Daddy"? LOL!
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          MATT....where does CR rate Audi and VW?..........
          Ryan
          • 3 Years Ago
          Another unfounded post by Sir Moron.
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          hey matt you moron....google Audi DSG, first thing that pops up is RECALL NOTICES.........the VW/ Audi transmissions are notorious for COMPLETE failures and recalls.....so whats better, something that has the potential to completely fail or driveability issures being adressed with a re-flash....HYPOCRITE.
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          behold, matts dads fabulous DSG................. Volkswagen & Audi were recalling 13,500+ vehicles equipped with it’s DSG transmission. Today we’re finding out the recall may just be the tip of the iceburg. After the jump we have videos of what happens when the transmission fails and more information on the recall. Good Morning America had a piece on the recall, interviewing customers who had transmissions in their vehicles fail- sometimes with less than 100 miles on the odometer. As reported in the GMA video, at least one owner had the transmission switch into neutral while accelerating onto a highway- causing a potentially serious safety issue.
          Oscar
          • 3 Years Ago
          For once I agree with you (well, actually your "daddy"). I love my A6, That said, you come across as one having your "daddy" teaching you to hate Ford, didn't he? And being the good little daddy's boy you are, you hate Ford too. What else would explain your incessant juvenile rants?
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          behold, matts dads fabulous DSG................. Volkswagen & Audi were recalling 13,500+ vehicles equipped with it’s DSG transmission. Today we’re finding out the recall may just be the tip of the iceburg. After the jump we have videos of what happens when the transmission fails and more information on the recall. Good Morning America had a piece on the recall, interviewing customers who had transmissions in their vehicles fail- sometimes with less than 100 miles on the odometer. As reported in the GMA video, at least one owner had the transmission switch into neutral while accelerating onto a highway- causing a potentially serious safety issue.
        whofan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lachmund
        Years ago I bought their top rated Washing machine. The joke was on me. Never base your perception or purchase decissions based on what Consumer Reports says. Use CR as a Vague reference as to what products are out there then you`ll be ok.
      Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      The problem in my mind isn't so much that CR reports on these issues; I mean, if they exist and their readers report them, then so be it. What I think the problem actually *exists* is that other publications and "news" sourced pick it up and leave out details, and make things sound way worse than they are. Many other general news articles I read about this said nothing more than "problems with the transmission in the Fiesta and Focus." they leave out the fact that the problems are related to driveability concerns and shift smoothness; which means Joe Dingdong might misread the article and think transmissions are breaking down and leaving people stranded. My biggest beef with CR is that their "Recommended" rating became suspect once they started granting it to Toyotas automatically. Once they did that, the rating meant nothing.
      Bryan Pizzuti
      • 3 Years Ago
      The buyers don't realize that this is really a disguised manual transmission, and won't "feel" like a traditional slushbox. That's partially the fault of Ford, who should have realized this would be a problem. They should have initially programmed it to feel more like a traditional automatic, since they're selling it as an automatic to automatic buyers. Of course, "dissatisfied" is not the same as "unreliable."
        Tiberius1701
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bryan Pizzuti
        "Automatically Shifted Manual Transmission" is how the shop manual describe the DSP6 trans in the Focus/Fiesta. I have an '11 Fiesta that other than the ocassional low-speed up-downshift hiccup shifts smartly as any other autobox I have owned. Have not had any software updates as of yet. Knocks down 40+mpg on highway and around town gets over 33mpg. The only thing I wish for is some sort of manual control. Toe into the throttle and it snaps off upshifts very quick and clean. The dopes at CR didn't ask my opinion.
        kcroc10077
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bryan Pizzuti
        Just thinking out loud here but why put a dual clutch on your economy model. It introduces weight and complexity. Why not keep a normal torque converter automatic or maybe try a single clutch unit?
    • Load More Comments