Austin Personal Injury Blog

Ford Faces Product Liability Claims for Faulty Transmissions

Posted By The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC || 8-May-2019

Motor vehicles play a fundamental role in our daily lives. Since the mass motorization of the 1930s, cars, trucks, and everything in between have dominated the transportation industry and influenced the development of our cities.

Unfortunately, operating a motor vehicle can be extremely dangerous. When an accident occurs, it’s easy and almost instinctive to blame the “at-fault” drier. But who’s to blame when defective automotive parts are responsible for an accident?

Ford Focus & Fiesta Models Source of Incoming Class Action Lawsuit

Motor vehicle manufacturers have a legal obligation to design and produce vehicle parts that are both effective and functional. However, the Ford Motor Company has been negligent in fulfilling this onus. The automaker has spent years trying to settle lawsuits surrounding its (2012-2016) and Fiesta (2011-2016) models. According to 1.9 million dissatisfied customers, Ford knowingly sold them vehicles with faulty transmissions and then cited operator error whenever they complained about the issue.

As of May 6, 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received nearly 2,500 complaints about these dual-clutch transmissions. These complaints reported stories of cars lurching into intersections and colliding into other vehicles. This reflects the official complaint, which asserts that the dual-clutch transmissions are prone to “shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation when changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration.” Instead of issuing a recall, Ford kept quiet and watched their customers suffer costly accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

The following incidents have been reported this year:

  • On February 7, 2019, a customer in Michigan complained that his vehicle started vibrating violently even though he was only going 11 miles per hour.
  • On March 29, 2019, a customer in North Carolina reported that their car accelerated forward when the put the gear in reverse.
  • On April 28, 2018, a customer in Illinois claimed that the transmission wouldn’t shift from second to third gear, despite being on 3 years old.

Another interesting anecdote in this lawsuit involves a 2014 Focus. The claimant says that a Ford dealer “induced” them into purchasing the vehicle, which needed repairs three days later. Ford refused – or rather, was unable – to fix the defective transmission, and refused to give the customer a refund. When the claimant’s case received a jury trial, Ford admitted that it broke lemon laws and had to face the music.

This isn’t just a national problem, either; the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission hit Ford with a $10 million fine last year, declaring that the negligent company engaged in “unconscionable and misleading or deception conduct” and made “false or misleading representations in its response to customer complaints.”

Recently, Ford entered a settlement with its aggrieved American customers in a class action lawsuit. However, Public Citizen, a non-profit firm, is trying to override the original $35 million settlement to secure $4 billion for the claimants. At a U.S. Court of Appeals hearing, Public Citizen‘s Michael Kirkpatrick argued that the initial settlement provided a “sweet deal for Ford” and a “raw deal” for its customers.

Harmed by a Defective Automotive Part? Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC Today

If you or a loved one has suffered severe or fatal injuries due to a defective product, contact the attorneys at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC today. Our trial-tested legal team can investigate your case, calculate your injury-related expenses, and develop a litigation strategy that holds the negligent party responsible for your losses.

Call The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

Categories: Product Liability
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