Report: Ford asks dealers to keep Fiesta & Focus repairs low-key

Detroit Free Press investigation uncovers glaring problems with transmissions

If you own a late model Ford Fiesta or Focus and you’ve had transmission problems, now is probably a good time to call the dealer or take your car in for repairs.

That’s because Ford recently told dealers to fix transmissions on those cars from the model years 2011-17 free of charge for customers that stop by through close of business Friday, according to an internal memo obtained by the Detroit Free Press.

But no one could be blamed for not knowing that because for some reason the automaker discouraged dealers from spreading the word about it.

"If a customer calls or arrives at your dealership indicating they have transmission symptoms that need addressed (sic), arrange to diagnose the vehicle and repair as necessary," the memo said in part.

The July 12 memo comes on the heels of an explosive Free Press investigation, which determined the automaker knew it was manufacturing "cars with defective transmissions and continued selling the troubled Focus and Fiesta despite thousands of complaints and an avalanche of repairs."

At the root of the problem is the DPS6, a since-discontinued dual-clutch transmission equipped with a gearbox with a reputation for suddenly speeding up, slowing down and slipping out of gear. In fact, the Free Press found it was the subject of more than 4,300 complaints made to federal regulators.

It’s unclear why the automaker did not advertise the repairs. But Jason Levine, who runs the Center for Auto Safety, an industry watchdog group, issued a blistering response to the low-key approach:

"By failing to widely publicize that there are repairs available free of charge to many owners of their faulty vehicles, Ford is repeating a long-standing auto industry practice of providing repairs to consumers only when asked as opposed to standing behind their product proactively."

Learn more by reading the complete story on Freep.com.

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