Owners of Ford Fiesta and Focus models with the company's problematic PowerShift automatic transmission will be eligible for vehicle buybacks and for cash compensation, according to a new settlement. As reported by the Detroit Free Press, depending on the number of service visits and repair attempts the vehicle has required, owners may be able to sell their cars back to Ford for up to $22,000. They may also be able to receive cash compensation of up to $250 for their trouble. In most states, owners will need to have had three or or a maximum of four transmission repair attempts.
The new settlement represents an appeal of an earlier deal that was much less generous to affected owners. It's estimated that some 1.5 million vehicles with the problematic gearbox are still on the road, and in total nearly 2 million owners and former owners could be eligible for some form of compensation.
The affected vehicles are 2011 to 2016 Fiestas and 2012 to 2016 Focus models. The PowerShift transmission is a six-speed dual-clutch automatic, and complaints about the gearbox include stumbling, shuddering, rough shifts, hesitation, and premature wear. In many cases the affected vehicles have had multiple transmission repairs and/or had their transmission replaced. In the course of the legal action, it came to light that engineers knew of the transmission's problems, but Ford decided to sell the vehicles anyway.
The transmission fiasco along with the rocky launch of the 2020 Ford Explorer and Aviator have been a drag on Ford's recent earnings and stock price, and last month there was an executive shakeup in which Jim Farley was elevated to chief executive officer while longtime exec Joe Hinrichs resigned. Hinrichs, as Ford's president for automotive, oversaw production.