Ford was aware of the problem of the Powershift automatic transmission, but nevertheless decided to start it. This is said in a report published in the newspaper "Detroit Free Press".
Several branding engineers warned that the development of the transmission was still incomplete and warned of problems in the double-clutch box equipped with Focus and Fiesta (two models that, on the other hand, left the line in Brazil this year). However, they would be ignored by a high-level producer, who decided to launch it in 2011.
Documents obtained in the newspapers indicate that the engineers of the brand identified errors in their work. August 31, 2010 (six months before Focus 2012 came out on the streets), product development engineer Tom Langeland told colleagues and supervisors that there were "intense vibrations after the start" that "did not disappear" even after many miles. "
"We can not deliver the appropriate calibration for driving that can be applied in serial production. It is necessary to improve the delivery of the coupling torque," he wrote in large capitals to highlight the problem.
In February of the following year, a month before Fokus debut, Craig Renneker, then director of engine and transmission engineering, addressed Richard Bonifass, a consumer services manager at Wayne's Michigan-based automotive manufacturing facility.
"The 2012 DPS6 equipped with the Powershift Box (Powershift Box Identification Code) can experience vibration and jerks after starting the engine or when the vehicle slows down to a full stop. Delivery the vehicles as they are and continue our efforts to find a lasting solution as soon as possible," he wrote .
The appeals did not last long. The NHTSA, the body responsible for road safety regulation in the United States, received thousands of complaints shortly after the shutdowns began. According to Detroit Free Press, about 4,300 requests were submitted, most of which related to the problem in which the exchange suddenly went to neutral.
There are still several reports of acceleration problems, either due to the lack of response when walking on a pedal or even sudden acceleration – to the point that the car passes at a crossroads and causes a serious accident.
Newspapers claim that in the next five years, Ford claimed to be trying to find a solution. At the same time, the company advised dealers to tell customers that there was no problem with the Powershift replacement. All this while several documents circled in the corridors of the company warning of the risks to the safety of passengers.
On March 24, 2017, a lawsuit was filed against Ford, based on a complaint of 1.9 million former or current owners of the Focus model from 2012 to 2016 and Fiesta from 2011 to 2016, all equipped with a dual-clutch transmission. The manufacturer proposed a $ 35 million contract, which was rejected two months later, as it was considered "too favorable" for Ford.
Ford classifies failures as "challenges" but assumes a mistake
When asked by journalists, the brand said that conversations during the development of the exchange were "normal" and turned around "the recurring challenges in new and innovative technologies." The manufacturer also said that many buyers are not accustomed to the sense of driving a double-clutch vehicle.
Ford, however, acknowledged the existence of problems in the functioning of the exchange and pointed out that "other problems developed after the transfer was on the streets," ensuring that he reacted "quickly and resolutely" to investigate them. The company also said that "although it resolved quality problems, the solutions were more complex and lasted longer than we expected."
And in Brazil?
Fiesta and Focus owners live a love and hate relationship with Powershift exchanges. In any case, several complaints have already been addressed to Procon against Ford. In a statement released in 2016, the organization states that "hundreds of complaints in social networks, press issues and registered in Procon itself" have been received in recent months.
The complaints turned around the transaxle failure, causing excessive shaking, noise and, in extreme cases, overheating. According to reports, vehicles suffered a loss of torque on slopes, and even locking of gears. The premature wear of the clutch was another complaint that was repeated.
In a joint response to Procon, Ford said the leakage fluids (which should be dampened) on dry clutch causes a problem in 2013 and 2014 vehicles, making changes that led to the new generation Powershift exchange.
However, the company rejected the need to withdraw, arguing that the defect "does not pose any risk to the safety of users, so that no problem is detected due to problems." The car maker has still denied some customers, saying "there is no loss of driving power".
At that time, the manufacturer said he solved the problems from the line 2015 by connecting the new fluorocarbon seal system. For cars that were defective, the brand said it would extend the warranty for the exchange from three to five years – or 160,000 kilometers of rolled. If the car under the current warranty reached such a mileage, it would have the right to replace the clutch at no cost.