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Ford extends warranties on 560,000 Focus, Fiesta models

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08/14/2019 | 09:44pm EDT
A Ford Focus RS is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it was extending warranties on clutch and related hardware in 560,000 Focus and Fiesta cars in the United States and Canada after reports of problems with their six-speed transmission.

The company said it would reimburse any repair charges to customers of 2014 through 2016 model cars, and offer other owners another chance to get a software update to fix the issue.

The problems with the cars' automatic transmission DPS6 - made to improve the vehicle's fuel economy - include a degree of vibration when the transmission is operated at low speed, and a potential for the transmission to default to neutral.

"Ford understands and regrets that many customers have been inconvenienced and frustrated by the performance of the DPS6 transmission," said Dave Filipe, vice president of power train engineering at Ford.

The company declined to reveal how much it would cost to offer the extended warranties and said the decision was independent of news reports or lawsuits related to the issue.

The announcement means warranty coverage for these vehicles is the same that has been in place since July 2014 for older Focus and Fiesta cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Wednesday it "has reviewed recent complaints and other data associated with" the customer satisfaction campaigns announced by Ford intended to address reports involving shuddering and loss of power.

"Based on a review of this information, and other information including severity and frequency, NHTSA has not found evidence of an unreasonable risk to safety," the agency said adding it "will continue to monitor complaints and other data, maintain communication with Ford, and take action as necessary."

In 2017, Ford settled a class-action lawsuit over the transmissions and agreed to pay owners of 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta or 2012-2016 Ford Focus vehicles up to $2,325 to compensate them for prior repair costs and other provisions. That settlement is pending until a federal appeals court decides whether to uphold it.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Jonathan Oatis)

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