Ford Response to Detroit Free Press Articles on DPS6 Transmission
DEARBORN, Mich. Jul 17, 2019; At Ford, we have no higher priority than earning and keeping the trust of our customers and assuring they are safe. That is why we are deeply concerned consumers may be confused or fearful as a result of recent reporting in the Detroit Free Press about the development and introduction of Ford’s DPS6 transmission nearly a decade ago.
That reporting includes conclusions that are not based in fact, which risks misleading customers about the safety and dependability of their vehicles.
This is too important for such misunderstanding to take hold. Consumers deserve to be told that vehicles with the DPS6 have proven to be safe, after billions of miles on the road since Ford introduced them in good faith. Indeed, automobiles with current versions of the transmission rank highly in performance and reliability, based on warranty statistics.
Here is what Ford believes consumers need to know:
The DPS6 was an all-new transmission made by a company named Getrag and introduced in 2011 and 2012 on Fiesta and Focus models. It was designed to improve the fuel economy of those vehicles.
In the development process, the DPS6 successfully completed extensive pre-launch study, testing and refinement. This process is universally applied at Ford. Vehicles are not launched until they reach key development milestones.
As we acknowledged years ago and have determinedly addressed, two distinct quality issues related to this transmission emerged after it was launched:
A degree of vibration, or shudder, when the all-new automatic transmission operated at low speed. Similar to what is experienced with a manual transmission, the vibration was effectively a tradeoff for the higher level of fuel efficiency. Durability and safety were not compromised. We underestimated its effect on customer satisfaction, as well as the complexity and time required to remedy the issue and optimize performance.
On a much smaller scale, a potential for the transmission to default to neutral – while still maintaining full power steering and braking – developed only after several years of real-world use of these vehicles. In 2014, the source was traced to a faulty control module. Contrary to an assertion by the Free Press, conversations inside Ford in 2008 had nothing to do with a matter that did not exist until years later.
The Free Press included allegations about accidents and injuries purportedly caused by the DPS6 transmission, including instances of “sudden…acceleration.” We have not seen that occur with the DPS6 and are not aware of evidence that would validate cause-and-effect in these cases.
Ford has been persistent in addressing these quality problems. We have gone to great lengths investigating the issues, alerting dealers and consumers, recommending and making repairs, and extending warranties. Resolving the problems took longer than we expected. We regret the frustration and inconvenience this has caused.
Unfortunately, reporting by the Free Press has needlessly added to consumer frustration and generated unwarranted concern. The newspaper has relied on documents that have been publicly available for a year, many of them shopped to reporters by attorneys attempting to call new attention to an old topic. Ford could have helped avoid numerous factual errors like the ones above. However, the Free Press declined an invitation to meet with our engineering experts – and go over facts in detail – prior to publishing these stories.
Ford continues to stand behind the affected vehicles today, including providing owners involved in a class action an option to resolve their claims sooner through voluntary arbitration, following the guidelines of the pending class settlement. Across our global business, we remain diligent and accountable in developing products and services that best meet the needs and interests of consumers.