DETROIT — More than 1.9 million unhappy customers who purchased or leased a Ford Focus or Fiesta say the company lied to unload cars with faulty transmissions on unsuspecting buyers and then blamed the drivers for problems they experienced.
As a result, Ford Motor Co. faces a potential $4 billion liability, lawyer Ryan Wu said last month during a U.S. Court of Appeals hearing during heated discussion with judges.
He was trying to convince a panel of appellate judges in Pasadena, California, on April 8 to leave in place a $35 million settlement his law firm negotiated to resolve a class-action lawsuit against Ford.
At the hearing, Michael Kirkpatrick of Public Citizen, a nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based consumer group handling the case for free, argued that the proposed settlement provided a sweet deal for Ford and a raw deal for its customers.
Ford customers claim in legal filings their 2012-16 Focus and 2011-16 Fiesta sedans were built with dual-clutch transmissions prone to “shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration.”