Potential settlement in works for some frustrated Ford Focus and Fiesta owners

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Some owners of certain Ford Focus and Fiesta models are highlighting the need for greater consumer protection as they await the Canadian court-approved settlement of a class action over an alleged design defect in the dual clutch. Anne Drewa reports – Dec 17, 2018

A class action settlement in Canada over an alleged design defect for some owners of certain Ford Focus and Fiesta models is on its way in Ontario, but still has to be approved by a court.

“There’s a potential settlement in the works. We haven’t seen anything of that settlement yet. We’ll be continuing to pursue our class action simultaneously,” said lawyer Steven Roxborough from Merchant Law Group, one of at least two firms representing Canadians in the class action against Ford over the alleged Powershift dual clutch transmission.

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A national class action lawsuit has been launched against Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Company of Canada over the Powershift dual clutch transmission in Ford Focus 2012-2016 models and Ford Fiesta 2011-2016 models.

It is allegedly a design defect in the dual clutch which causes drivers of these vehicles to experience everything from difficulty stopping, jerking, and delayed acceleration, allegedly putting drivers at risk of serious injury or death.

B.C. resident Amber D’Amico says she’s had nothing but problems since she bought her 2014 Ford Focus.

“It’s shuddering. It’s now recently in the last month or two starting to stall, it won’t accelerate up hills, loss of power trying to accelerate into traffic,” said D’Amico.

She added, “it’s not safe. I can’t accelerate in front of cars. You never know if it can get its gear.”

She’s not alone. Transport Canada says it has received over 1,826 complaints concerning the operation and performance of the dual clutch transmission in Ford Fiesta and Focus passenger cars. It also says it is not aware of any injuries or collisions related to this issue.

When it comes to the speed at which class actions move through the courts in Canada, Roxborough says it needs to change.

Current consumer protection laws in B.C. fall short, he says.

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“Access delayed is access denied. We need a procedure for these individuals’ claims to be adjudicated in an effective and timely manner and there needs to be changes. I think those changes need to come from the legislature,” said Roxborough.

Shortly after D’Amico was interviewed by Consumer Matters, she says the dealership where she bought the Ford Focus bought it back and replaced it with a different Ford model.

Ford Canada would not comment on this story, stating, “we don’t comment on pending litigation.”

The earliest a court could approve the proposed settlement is March 2019.

Once the settlement comes down and is approved by a court, affected Ford owners will have an opportunity to review the settlement and decide to participate in the class action or opt out if they don’t approve of the compensation.

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