Ford just cannot catch a break. Following up from my last blog, between the decision to make only trucks and SUVs, a worldwide pandemic, a damaged parts supplier factory, office member shake ups, the fifth and final issues that will be the focus (pun intended) of this blog is a lawsuit for an issue spanning almost 8 years. This is going to be a very rough 2020 for the big blue oval.
Ford was praised for not taking a government bailout during the 2009 recession. While that was a good thing, and I am supportive of that decision, I think it made them lean in product forecasting and ignorant in mechanical reliability. While they were trying to make good financial decisions, it blinded them to what was coming, which will ultimately end up costing them. The worst part is, you get what you pay for.
Starting in 2011, Ford released the third generation Focus, which lasted until 2018. However, the models made from 2012 to 2016 had a major issue with their transmissions which included shuddering, stuttering, weak acceleration, inability to start or randomly shutting down, among other things. I am the second owner of a 2012 Ford Focus and have personal experience with these issues. The issues started almost immediately after customers purchased the cars back in 2012 and after a number of years, it came out that Ford knew about the issue and was not exactly willing to correct it.
That has lead to a major lawsuit and where customers who have owned or currently own a Ford Focus from 2012 to 2016 have sued Ford for knowingly continued to sell a faulty product. The minimum amount Ford has to pay is $30 million and they have already paid $47 million to some Focus and Fiesta owners up until this point. $77 million dollars is a lot of money, but again, that is the least amount they must pay. When the dust settles, they could be on the hook for as much as $450 million according to some analysts. When it comes down to it, any Ford Focus owner past or present, that meet some pretty minimal criteria, can get at minimum, $20 from Ford. I’ll take a free tank of gas, thank you very much! Some may qualify to have their Focus or Fiesta bought back entirely, which is not cheap. It will be interesting to see what the amount will finally add up to when all is said and done.
That is a big black eye to Fords already hurting circumstances. As I outlined in the last blog, their focus on trucks is an all in bet that there is no going back on. When you look back on 2010, you would have thought they would have invested their money on a better functioning, critical mechanical component of the car. But, they probably didn’t want to spend the money trying to fix it and went years just hoping no legal action would be taken. They made bad parts and made bad decisions, and now they are paying for it. To add insult to injury, they don’t even make that vehicle anymore and yet it has become a pebble in the shoe of their move to trucks and SUV’s plan. Loosing all that money on a car that you no longer make is rough. However, Ford has always found freedom in their F-150, so let’s hope that doesn’t fail them this time around.
*Just to note this lawsuit is not just for the 2012-2016 Ford Focus. It also includes the 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta as well.