Could a simple miscommunication be at the root of the reported problems with Ford’s PowerShift dual-clutch transmission? Ford seems to think that’s the case and is asking dealers to provide plain-language instructions to explain how the fuel-saving six-speed automatic gearbox responds and how it differs from conventional automatic transmissions.
This move comes after Ford’s Fiesta and Focus drew concern from third-party groups such as J.D. Power & Associates. Some buyers had issues with the way the transmission shifted. Ford believes the gearboxes are performing as designed but believe the problem lies with how customers correlate the frequency and abruptness of gearshifts to a conventional automatic transmission.
“What we really want to convey is their experience is something different,” said Sherryl Brightwell, the Fiesta brand manager, to Ward’s Auto.
One benefit, Ford says, is that the dual-clutch transmission is maintenance-free for 150,000 miles. The dual-clutch transmission is currently only offered in the Fiesta and Focus but the technology is expected to catch on with other models in Ford’s lineup. Currently, Ford says that half of all retail sales of the Fiesta have been hatchbacks while 41 percent of retail sales for the Focus are of the hatchback body style.
Ford was surprised by the complaints of Focus and Fiesta drivers but hopes to emphasize the new transmission’s unique features for the U.S. market in the future. A similar transmission is offered overseas but Ford says it hasn’t received complaints from European consumers.
Source: Ford, Wards Auto