A class action has been filed in the Federal Court of Australia against Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited (Ford).

The class action is funded by Martin Place Litigation Services and is being prosecuted by one of Australia’s leading law firms Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Corrs). It was initially commenced by Bannister Law.

If you acquired a new or used Ford vehicle with a PowerShift dual-clutch transmission during the period January 2011 to 11 May 2016 then you may be eligible for compensation and should register your details immediately.

Update (November 2021)

The Ford Class Action was listed for hearing for six weeks beginning on 15 June 2020.

The hearing, presided over by Justice Perram of the Federal Court of Australia, concluded on 24 July 2020. Over the course of the hearing, the court heard from several lay witnesses, including group members who own or have owned an Affected Vehicle, and several employees of Ford Australia. The court also heard from several expert witnesses including: (a) mechanical engineers in relation to the mechanical condition of the Affected Vehicles; and (b) economists and valuers in relation to the calculation of loss.

On 29 June 2021, Justice Perram delivered his decision in relation to the Ford Class Action, together with his Honour’s reasons for it. We are pleased to advise that the applicant was successful in her claim for damages, and on key aspects of her claim for group members. In particular, the Court found that the Affected Vehicles suffered from certain component and design deficiencies, and that they were therefore not of "acceptable quality" within the meaning of the Australian Consumer Law. The Court has not yet determined what damages are available to individual group members. A copy of the judgment is available on the Federal Court’s website (https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2021/2021fca0715.

On 13 August 2021, the Court held the first case management hearing since Justice Perram’s judgement was handed down on 29 June 2021. At that time, the Court declared that the Applicant’s (Ms Capic’s) 2012 Ford Focus Sport did not comply with the guarantee of "acceptable quality" under the Australian Consumer Law and ordered that Ford is to pay $17,248.19 (including interest) to Ms Capic.

On 3 November 2021, the Court gave judgment on the “common questions” – that is, issues which arose in Ms Capic’s claim and also arise in group members’ claims. Broadly speaking, group members need to show (1) Ford is liable and (2) they have suffered loss as a result. The November judgment concerned whether Ford is liable to group members. We expect the Court to make orders which give effect to this judgment around mid-November 2021. Based on the judgment, we expect the Court will order that (subject to the possibility of defences which may apply in limited cases) the affected vehicles were not of acceptable quality, within the meaning of the Australian Consumer Law, with some of the affected vehicles more defective than others. This decision is important because group members can rely on these findings, and will not have to prove those separately. A copy of the judgment is available on the Federal Court’s website (https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2021/2021fca1320).

The two judgments given this year are important steps, but may be appealed by Ford.

So far, there has been no decision about how much compensation group members may be entitled to. The Court has left open the possibility of loss being determined on an aggregate basis (ie, all group members together). We will endeavour to consider all options, going forward, and will keep you up to date with progress in the case. Just how quickly the Court turns its attention to quantification of losses may depend on whether Ford wishes to lodge an appeal.

To stay up to date, we encourage you to provide your contact details to us by registering here.

Background

Between 2011 and mid-2016, Ford sold approximately 70,000 Focus, Fiesta and Ecosport vehicles fitted with a PowerShift dual-clutch transmission in Australia.

PowerShift was meant to be “the transmission of the future”. However, owners of PowerShift vehicles experienced many problems, including shuddering, juddering, delayed and jerky acceleration, and non-starting. Ford has now admitted the existence of various “quality issues” with the transmissions, relating to defective seals, clutch material and transmission control units.

In April 2018, Ford was fined $10 million by the ACCC for its response to consumer complaints about PowerShift vehicles fitted with PowerShift transmissions between 1 May 2015 and 29 February 2016. The ACCC accepted an enforceable undertaking by Ford to institute a complaints review program that only a small proportion of PowerShift vehicle owners may qualify for.

Group members

The class action is for the benefit of any person who bought or leased (or otherwise acquired an interest in) any of the Ford models described below at any stage over the period 1 January 2011 to 29 November 2018 (no matter whether the car was purchased or leased through a Ford dealer, and regardless of whether the car was purchased or leased new or used).

FORD FOCUS
Model Build Year
Titanium LW or Titanium LW MKII 2011 - 2015
Sport LW or Sport LW MKII 2011 - 2015
Trend LW or Trend LW MKII 2011 - 2015
Ambiente LW or Ambiente LW MK II 2011 - 2015
FORD ECOSPORT
Model Build Year
Titanium BK 2013 - 2016
Trend BK 2013 - 2016
Ambiente BK 2013 - 2016
FORD FIESTA
Model Build Year
ZETEC WT 2010 – 2013
LX WT 2010 – 2013
CL WT 2010 – 2013
Sport EcoBoost WZ 2012 - 2015
Trend WZ 2013 – 2016
Ambiente WZ 2013 - 2016

Claims

The PowerShift vehicles came with a warranty, under the Australian Consumer Law, that they were of acceptable quality. The cars had to be, as free from defects, as safe, and as durable, as a reasonable consumer would regard as acceptable. We contend that cars did not meet that standard.

Under the Australian Consumer Law, where that standard is not satisfied, affected consumers are entitled to recover damages from the manufacturer – in this case, Ford. They may recover the difference between what they paid for the car (or the average retail price, if that is lower) and the car’s true value. They may also recover other reasonably foreseeable losses, such as costs incurred in inspecting the cars for defects, and returning the cars to the dealer for repairs.

Additionally, we contend that Ford made representations about the quality, reliability, durability, safety, comfort and performance of the cars that were misleading or deceptive in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law. Under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers are entitled to recover the amount of any loss or damage they suffer as a result of misleading or deceptive conduct.

We will also contend that Ford misled consumers who sought refunds or no-cost replacements by informing those consumers that such redress options were not available, when they were. Such These consumers have, we contend, deprived a statutory rights to refunds or no-cost replacements.

Relief sought

The class action aims to recover all losses suffered by group members as a result of non-compliance with the statutory guarantee and misleading or deceptive conduct. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to:

  • the difference between the price group members’ paid for their PowerShift vehicles and the true value of the cars; and
  • any other losses caused by Ford’s alleged misconduct, including the cost of inspecting the cars for defects, the costs of repairs, car hire, taxi fares, additional expenses due to re-financing, and any other expenses incurred to replace a defective Powershift vehicle.

How do I register my interest in the Ford Australia Class Action?

Please complete the information below to register your interest in the Ford Australia Class Action. We will then make contact to provide you updates on the case, including the outcome of the case once the Court makes a decision, going forward.

Will the information I provide be kept confidential?

Yes. We take your privacy and information security very seriously. We will not disclose your information to anyone else or use it for any purposes except for the claim against Ford.

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