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Old 01-09-2013, 11:26 PM   #1
Just Tom
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What every Focus owner needs to know about the Ford Pinto

Since joining this forum and recently having purchased a Focus Ti, I've had an opportunity to become familiar with some of the stories shared by other members regarding there personal experience with their cars. Obviously the most notable stories are situations involving premature clutch replacement, reoccurring DCT failures and those individuals who've completely lost hope, given up and either sold or traded-in. Then there are those who file lemon law claims...but that's another Oprah for a different day. Throughout it all, I've noticed there's a reoccurring theme that's often repeated by users on this forum who share their stories; dealers who claim, "can't duplicate customer concern" or "no problem found." If the stories on this forum are any indication, the dreaded "no problem found" scenario has reached epidemic proportions. I too experienced this myself when I took my Focus in after only 700 miles when the car began shuddering, shifting erratically and lurching forward. This behavior seems to mimic the problems other users have had with their DCT.

The point to this is, users on this forum complain that Ford isn't listening or that they don't care or use catch phrases like "no problem found" to avoid making costly repairs. Well the truth is, in my opinion anyway, that all manufacturers try to avoid covering warrantable items if they think they can get away with it. As I've stated in other threads before, stalling or delaying is a "tactic" that is used by all the manufacturers to mitigate potential financial loss. Recently, while posting in a separate thread where I discussed lemon law claims and how manufacturers ignore requests as long as possible until lawyers get involved, I referenced the Ford Pinto recall which involved 500 deaths (by some estimates) due to gas tanks which were prone to exploding upon rear impact. There were several wrongful death lawsuits filed and damages in the millions of dollars were awarded to the litigants. In one such case, the punitive damages were $125,000,000. Also of significant note was the case of: State of Indiana v. Ford Motor Co., where Ford was indicted on criminal homicide charges; the first of its kind for an American corporation during that time. GM had a similar problem with exploding gas tanks on some of their side-saddle gas tanks found on Chevy and GMC trucks which resulted in more deaths, more lawsuits and more court damages awarded.

In both these cases, the manufactures knew about the dangers, but opted to continue building the vehicles without making any changes in favor of profit. Memos and depositions in the Ford case and in the investigation of GM by the NHTSA it was discovered that the manufacturers used "cost to benefit analysis" in making their decision NOT to make important safety changes which in the case of the Pinto, would have only cost an additional $11.00 per unit, saving potentially hundreds of lives in the process. Ford calculated the cost of settling wrongful death lawsuits (approx. $200k per death) as a cheaper way to go as opposed to making safety changes. Well...that was then and this is now and I think we can all agree that the quality of American automobiles has improved tremendously since the 70's and 80's. Also automotive safety is probably the best it's ever been in all the years of automotive manufacturing combined. Cars are much safer without a doubt.

So what's the point of this? It's simple. While the cars themselves are better built and safer overall, there's still room for defects. Let's face it, even with today's modern technology, defects still happen. We need to look no further than the huge public relations nightmare Toyota experienced a couple years ago with unintended acceleration on certain Prius and other hybrid models. A settlement was reached where Toyota has agreed to pay $1.1 billion, which is in addition to the cost of all the recalls. So why do you suppose Ford is ignoring the DCT issues that so many have complained about instead of issuing a recall? Well....I think you probably already know the answer to that.

Food for thought for thought.

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