— A Ford DPS6 PowerShift transmission lawsuit consolidated from multiple class-action lawsuits will be heard in a California courtroom after the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation granted Ford’s motion to centralize the lawsuits.
According to court documents, there are 110 legal actions against Ford in California and “57 related federal actions."
Plaintiffs started filing class-action lawsuits against Ford alleging the transmissions are defective in 2012-2016 Ford Focus cars and 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta vehicles. Customers claim in addition to delayed acceleration and downshifting problems, the transmissions have caused vehicles to crash.
One of those lawsuits (Ascensio, et al., v. Ford Motor Company) was filed in 2017 alleging the dual-clutch DPS6 PowerShift transmissions shudder, slip, jerk, hesitate and suffer from multiple other problems. The lawsuit claims Ford has replaced possibly tens of thousands of DPS6 transmissions that are offered as an option on Focus and Fiesta cars, each transmission costing about $1,100.
The transmissions are allegedly more fuel efficient and reliable than traditional manual or automatic transmissions, so much so that Ford offered it as the only "automatic" option for some models.
Ford allegedly marketed the PowerShift transmission as having the “best of both worlds” of an automatic and manual transmission, with the fuel economy of a manual but with the ease of operation and shift quality of an automatic transmission.
The plaintiffs say while the DPS6 transmission is called an "automatic," each transmission is really a group of computerized manual transmissions that lack torque converters and in their place use two “dry” clutches to engage and disengage the engines with and from the transmission.
This is in comparison to “automated manual” transmissions that use “wet” clutches covered with oil, but Ford’s PowerShift transmission clutches lack the oil pumps and other components of a “wet” clutch system and instead operate “dry.”
The plaintiffs claim the clutch plates and other components wear out early and cause complete transmission failure. The plaintiffs further allege the automaker knew about the DPS6 transmission problems as early as 2010 and tried to cover up and conceal the defects.
Some of the plaintiffs were against centralizing the transmission lawsuits in the Central District of California. Those customers argued consolidating the DPS6 PowerShift transmission lawsuits in the Central District of California would be unfair because Ford could then get around state laws.
In addition, customers against consolidation told the judge centralization should be blocked because:
“The actions also involve individualized questions of fact regarding the problems experienced by each plaintiff’s vehicle, the nature and number of repairs, the efficacy of the repairs, and the extent to which the alleged defect impaired each plaintiff’s use of the vehicle."
By ruling in favor of Ford, the judicial panel said “we find that these actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation.”
The Ford DPS6 PowerShift transmission lawsuit is In Re: Ford Motor Co. DPS6 PowerShift Transmission Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2814.
The automaker has already agreed to settle a PowerShift transmission lawsuit in 2017 that includes about 1.5 million Focus and Fiesta cars.
CarComplaints.com has owner-reported complaints about transmission problems in the Ford Focus and Fiesta cars: