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Ford to extend warranties on problem transmissions

The Ford Motor Company is extending warranties on transmissions that have caused headaches for thousands of drivers.

The automaker announced Wednesday morning that it will lengthen the warranties on specific Focus and Fiesta models. This comes several weeks after the Detroit Free Press reported that Ford might have sold the vehicles with the defective gearboxes despite concerns.

The clutch warranties will be extended to seven years or 160,000 kilometres for 2014-2016 Focus sedans with the DPS-6 transmissions, as well as Fiestas from the 2014 and 2015 model years, according to Automotive News. The coverage for the transmission control module remains the same at ten years or 241,000 kilometres.

Roughly 560,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. and Canada are affected. Any consumers who had the transmissions repaired will be reimbursed, the company said.

The DPS-6 transmission is a dual-clutch mechanism that was designed to provide automatic transmission users with the fuel economy of a manual transaxle.

Ford vice-president of powertrain engineering Dave Filipe said in a media release that safety is, and has always been, the automaker’s top priority.

“While these vehicles always were and remain safe to drive, we regret the inconvenience our customers have experienced,” he said.

The Free Press investigation found that Ford may have known as early as 2010 that the transmissions were problematic, yet continued to sell them. The paper also published an internal memo to Ford dealers, directing them to go ahead and fix the gearboxes if a customer came in with concerns about the transmission over one week in July. Ford responded to the report, stating that the story contained “conclusions that were not based on fact”, and that the transmissions were safe.

The automaker said subsequent models of the Focus and Fiesta are equipped with the updated transmissions and software and are not affected.