Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's woman says Ford Canada isn't doing enough to fix safety concerns

Jennifer Walsh says she has no choice but to drive a car she believes is too dangerous to be on the road, after experiencing a series of problems with the transmission of her 2013 Ford Focus.

Transport Canada opens 'defect investigation' after complaints about Focus and Fiesta models

Jennifer Walsh says she has no choice but to drive a car she believes is too dangerous to be on the road. 1:50

Jennifer Walsh says she has no choice but to drive a car she believes is too dangerous to be on the road.

Walsh says her 2013 Ford Focus often slips out of gear while she's driving, jerks forward without her control, and stops spontaneously mid-trip.

"The car won't go and then all of a sudden, it's almost like it makes up for it and then you'll shoot forward, even if you have your foot taken off the acceleration," said Walsh. "I'm not pressing on the gas and the car shoots forward, which is dangerous."

You'll shoot forward, even if you have your foot taken off the acceleration.- Jennifer Walsh

Walsh says her car hasn't worked properly since she drove it off the sales lot in St. John's two years ago.

She calls her situation a "revolving door" where she is constantly making appointments with the service department of her local Ford dealership.

"The transmission is not working properly," she said.

Transport Canada investigates

Walsh is not alone. Transport Canada says it has received more complaints about this issue than any other single issue in more than 15 years.

Transport Canada is investigating problems with the loss of propulsion in 2012-2016 Ford Focus and 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta models, in response to complaints from more than 500 drivers.

Ford Canada spokeswoman Michelle Lee-Gracey told CBC News in a recent email that the company has customer service programs that extend the warranty on certain parts of the affected vehicles "to as much as 10 years of service or 240,000 kilometres from the warranty start date of the vehicle."

Jennifer Walsh says her 2013 Ford Focus isn't safe to drive and the company isn't doing enough to fix the problem. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

She recommended customers experiencing issues contact their dealership, or call Ford's customer relationship centre.

When asked about the possibility of a recall, Lee-Gracey added, "When data indicates a safety recall is needed, we move quickly on behalf of our customers."

While Ford Canada is extending the warranty on certain parts of the affected models, that's not good enough for Walsh.

After several clutch replacements, she wants the company to do more.

"It's putting Band-Aids over the underlying issue," Walsh said. "The car is not working properly, it is not safe."

Walsh says each time she gets a new clutch, her car drives normally for about 5,000 kilometres and then goes back to shuddering, stalling and accelerating without the driver's control.

About the Author

Amy Stoodley

CBC News

Amy Stoodley is a reporter with CBC News in St. John's.