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Ford Australia receives Powershift law suit

Legal step: Ford’s LW Focus with the Powershift automatic transmission is at the centre of a class action brought by a law firm on behalf of owners.

Auto transmission class action lodged with Ford over Focus, Fiesta problems

16 Jun 2016

UPDATED: 20/06/2016AUSTRALIAN legal firm Bannister Law has confirmed that it has filed class action proceedings on behalf of “over a thousand customers” against Ford Australia over alleged defective Powershift automatic transmissions on certain Focus and Fiesta cars.

The filing, which will be heard in the Federal Court in Sydney on June 29, follows Ford Australia's confirmation last week that it had received legal documents outlining the customer class-action brought by Bannister Law.

Speaking at a media event this week in Melbourne to announce free annual sat-nav upgrades for Ford cars fitted with its Sync2 connectivity system, Ford Australia president and CEO Graeme Whickman said: “We have received the law suit information and beyond that we simply don’t comment on litigation.

“That’s the stock response. We will do what we need to do relative to the laws of the land and we will have that dialogue in a private and confidential manner.”

It is unclear how many Ford customers have joined the action or when it is likely to come to a head in the Federal Court.

According to Bannister Law’s website, the class action was filed on May 17 against Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited.

“Bannister Law has already retained some of the most respected legal minds in the country to act on the representative actions,” the statement says.

The law suit centres around complaints of troublesome transmissions in LW Focus in 1.6- and 2.0-litre variants built between 2011 and 2014, the WT 1.6-litre Fiesta and WZ 1.5-litre Fiesta produced between 2011 and 2014 and the 1.5-litre EcoSport crossover built from 2013 to 2014.

“We have been contacted by many Ford vehicles owners whom allege that the vehicles equipped with the Powershift transmission are defective in that, amongst other problems, the transmission slips, bucks, jerks, and harshly engages when driven,” the law firm says.

“Further, they allege that, without warning, they have experienced, whilst driving, sudden acceleration, delay in downshifts, delayed acceleration, and, in some circumstances, difficulty in stopping the vehicle whilst braking.

“Some consumers are concerned that, as a result of their experiences on the road, their vehicles are unsafe to drive.”

The class action calls for Ford to pay a full refund of purchases price for the cars of affected customers.

A second claim seeks damages for the decrease in value of the cars, with Bannister saying owners are entitled to be fairly compensated for the loss.

Bannister Law is the same firm running a car owner class action against Volkswagen and Audi over diesel defeat devices on vehicles manufactured between 2008 and 2014.

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