Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, responded to quiet release of the repair directive by saying, “By failing to widely publicize that there are repairs available free of charge to many owners of their faulty vehicles, Ford is repeating a longstanding auto industry practice of providing repairs to consumers only when asked as opposed to standing behind their product proactively.”
July 18, 2019
Ford Motor Co. quietly notified dealers to expand warranty coverage of its 2011-17 Fiesta and Focus vehicles within 24 hours of publication of a Free Press investigation into defective transmissions, including model year 2017 for the first time.
According to a memo to dealers dated July 12 that was obtained by the Free Press, Ford instructed dealerships not to solicit owners for the free repair offers. One dealer referred to the directive as a “carte blanche” repair order set to expire July 19.
“If a customer calls or arrives at our dealership indicating they are having transmission symptoms that need to be addressed, we are to arrange to diagnose the vehicle and fix as necessary,” Mike Rabbitts, parts and service director for Friendship Ford in Bristol, Tennessee, told the Free Press Thursday.
Dealers said they have seen a spike in customer calls and visits over past week, since publication of the Free Press Out of Gear investigation of the carmaker’s use of a dual-clutch transmission it called the DPS6 starting with the 2011 Fiesta and the 2012 Focus. Customers have gone to dealerships carrying the Free Press story to show that the transmission problems aren’t their imagination, some car owners told the newspaper.