In 2009, as the country was in the throes of a major economic recession, carmakers were required to improve fuel mileage. In response, Ford Motor Company produced two models that touted fuel economy in an affordable car. However, these models have been plagued with transmission problems that have placed customers in Arizona and elsewhere in potentially dangerous situations and have been the subject of several auto product liability lawsuits.
An investigation into the DPS6 dry dual-clutch used in the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus models revealed that the company was aware that serious problems existed. An engineer wrote a detailed memo warning that the transmission problems were not resolved, but the company still pushed production in order to meet the fuel standards. In spite of multiple customer complaints of difficulties with shifting and acceleration, Ford introduced the Focus a few years after the Fiesta.
The company denies that the vehicles are unsafe in spite of the fact that customers reported being involved in crashes that could be directly attributed to the problems with the transmissions. The investigation found that approximately 50 injuries were believed to have been caused by the issue. One customer reported that his car was involved in a side-impact crash when his new Focus accelerated without warning into an intersection. His wife suffered a bruised heart in the collision.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not opened an investigation nor has it ordered a recall. Ford maintains that the trouble stems from relatively new technology and customers' inability to adjust to the transmissions. Across the country, thousands of customers have filed complaints over costly repairs that have not corrected the problem and leave them with vehicles that pose a hazard. Those who have suffered injuries or sustained significant monetary losses due to an Arizona accident that may be attributed to a vehicle defect may have a basis for filing an auto product liability claim to seek recovery of their monetary damages.