Ford offers extended warranty on troubled Focus
DETROIT, Sept 9,2002, Reuters is reporting that Ford today said it would offer an extended warranty on its Focus compact car, which has suffered a string of quality problems since its introduction.
Ford said it would offer a "powertrain coverage plan" for the 2003 Focus good for five years or 100,000 miles, and which could be transferred between owners.
Several automakers, including DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler arm and Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd., offer warranties longer than the typical three-year or 36,000-mile plan to reassure customers worried about quality.
Ford in the past two years has been forced to issue nine safety recalls for the Focus; six investigations into possible defects are still pending. One such investigation by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found 130 complaints from people who claim burn injuries from Focus air bags.
Ford contends it has fixed many quality problems with the Focus, improving its score on a benchmark quality study 23 percent between 2000 and 2002. The automaker has also said warranty claims from the first months of service also are declining.
Quality concerns may be one reason sales of the Focus, which was introduced in 1999, are off 7 percent through August of this year. The Focus is now outsold in the United States by General Motors Corp.'s aging Chevrolet Cavalier, along with Honda Motor Co. Ltd.'s Civic and Toyota Motor Corp.'s Corolla.