Car News

ACCC takes Ford Australia to court over PowerShift auto transmission issues

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has commenced civil proceedings against Ford Australia over conduct relating to Powershift automatic transmissions.

THE ACCC has taken another shot at a car company in Australia and announced yesterday that it is investigating a total of nine car companies. The consumer watchdog yesterday commenced civil proceedings against Ford Australia for conduct relating to certain vehicles with dry-clutch PowerShift automatic transmissions. In a statement to the media yesterday, Ford Australia said it rejects the allegations and will challenge them.

“Whilst we strongly refute the ACCC allegations and will challenge them, we will work with them wherever needed to help provide certainty about the application of Australian Consumer Law for our industry,” Graeme Whickman, Ford ‎President & CEO Ford Motor Company, Australia said yesterday.

“Our focus right now is on continuing to get the latest specification clutch to our customers so they can enjoy their vehicles as intended.”

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Ford has acknowledged it was slow to respond to customer concerns and that it wasn’t resuourced to deal with the “clutch shudder issues” with the Powershift transmission (read about how a DSG works by reading this story) but that it “has worked with customers to implement manufacturing and repair solutions. We have always worked to provide the best possible customer outcomes, in a transparent manner”.

“We acknowledge that some customers had a poor experience when the clutch shudder issues on the PowerShift transmission first came to light and we are sorry for this,” Whickman said yesterday. 

“We’ve continued to improve our response times to customers and have been repairing vehicles, compensating customers, and depending on the circumstances, providing full refunds and providing replacement vehicles,” Whickman added.  

“Repairs are available for all PowerShift transmission issues and all new vehicles on sale today are built with the latest updates.”

As far as Practical Motoring understands the issue is not with the mechanics of the transmission or the way it operates, rather that the clutch material used is simply not up to the job of handling the heat generated. The result is shuddering in lower gears, which is similar to anyone who’s driven a manual with a knackered and slipping clutch.

Ford is encouraging anyone who owns one of the 72,000 vehicles (Fiesta Focus and EcoSport) sold between 2010 and 2016 with the affected transmission to contact their local dealer or Ford. The company claims around half of the 72,000 customers have already been in contact with the company.

Question: What do you think about Ford’s behaviour in this matter? And, what do you think about the ACCC claiming Ford has not met the terms of Australian Consumer Law?


3 Comments

  1. Tarquin Farquhar the 3rd
    July 27, 2017 at 12:26 pm — Reply

    Ford is having like other US and European car companies. This is why I’m sticking to major Japanese and Korean companies.

  2. Andrew Riles
    July 27, 2017 at 8:00 pm — Reply

    My sister in law had an affected Focus, and I believe that Ford should have refunded that for her….

    At one point it appeared she was trapped in a never ending cycle, where the car would go to Ford for a month or so to get fixed, then she’d have it back for a week or so before it played up again….I don’t remember how many times exactly, but it seemed to go on for about a year before she gave up and sold the car….

    Ironically, it didn’t play up at all until after she put it in to have the recall work performed on the gearbox…..

    • July 28, 2017 at 9:12 am — Reply

      Hi Andrew, that doesn’t sound like a good experience at all. And, I’m sure your sister in law isn’t alone. DSGs are a fantastic gearbox but they are very complicated. Ford claims it was the material used for the clutch that wasn’t able to handle the high heat generated, so it seems strange that it would take so many ‘goes’ to get it right. Thanks Isaac

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.