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# 215385 25-Jun-2017 13:42
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I've always been a small car buyer - not a car nut, don't associate my self-worth with what car I drive, and thus have zero interest in expensive and unreliable Euros (having learned a harsh lesson along the way with a VW Polo was also a sobering experience). Whilst I am perfectly aware that buying new cars aren't economically efficient, I will always prefer buying new. I just don't want other people's problems and just expect the car to give me problem-free motoring of between 3 to 7 years (7 being the max). Then I move on to the next car. The purpose of this background is to illuminate why I found my experience of owning a Ford Fiesta which I bought brand new so unsettling and why I'll never touch a Ford again.

 

Bought the car at the end of 2010 and even bought an extra two years of warranty following my 4 years of VW Polo ownership nightmare. The dual clutch automatic had some of the well-known/loathed characteristics of being a bit jerky at slow speeds although on my one it was very occasional only. But it otherwise was a very fun car to drive, especially out on the open road.

 

So what's the point of this thread, you ask? Let me tell you the first horror:

 

1. Absolutely horrendous servicing costs

 

I am not kidding you, the first service at John Andrew Ford cost close to $500 and that was 2011 (I think I had change of about $30-odd dollars). JAF was also the first -- and still only -- company that behaved so abysmally as to motivate me to make a complaint to the Commerce Commission. They dared to charge some $15 for oil disposal (umm, hi, it's your obligation to comply with waste disposal laws) and, more egregiously, represented this as some kind of "levy" cost which they were legitimately passing on. The CC issued them with a compliance letter telling them to actually warn people of such charges in advance whilst doing nothing about the misleading implication that the word "levy" created.

 

Since then I have found that servicing the car at either JAF or the other AHG-owned Ford dealer, North Harbour Ford, routinely attracted annual servicing costs that exceeded servicing costs of equivalent Euro cars, let along similar Japanese brands. And if anyone knows anything about Ford's servicing schedules -- the work done on the car is usually extremely minimal.

 

2. Oh the rattling and low quality parts

 

By the car was about 1 year old, the interior started to give off endless rattles. I'd complain whilst the car was under warranty at servicing, and either JAF or North Harbour Ford (depending on from whom I preferred a reaming at any given year) would claim to have tightened some things, and then the rattling would come back with a vengeance later. Almost every years I would have been replace the windscreen wiper because, not only does it make a horrendous grinding noise every time a month or so after I get a new one, by the time the wiper is more than 6 months old, it would fail to wipe my widescreen without leaving streaks.

 

Oh and don't get me started on the peeling interiors.....

 

3. Sure the car was broadly reliable mechanically until it nearly started a multiple nose-to-tail 

 

For the nearly 6.5 years and nearly 70Ks I drove on the car, it was very reliable (unlike a VW polo which I gave up on and traded in after 3 years and 25Ks) until I was driving around one day in the CBD going at about 53 KPH and the car just suddenly lost power completely and the console started flashing "Transmission problem. Service Now" (or words to that effect). It was only a minor miracle that the car behind me didn't rear end into me and causing a cascade of crashes. To cut a long story short, I initially took it to a friendly local garage thinking that it wasn't worth my while to try and diagnose it at a Ford dealer out of warranty (I had already decided that I would trade in the car once it was fixed and get something else). Friendly garage/their matey electrical specialist announced they couldn't diagnose the car and waived all charges, so I had the car taken to North Harbour Ford. And what followed just takes the cake.

 

4. The joys of Ford's "extended warranty". Or was it?

 

A day after taking the car to North Harbour Ford, they advised that "Oh your car is ready to collect and it's all good!". I was actually quite amazed as I made it quite clear that I would only pay their set fee for examining the car and that all repair work had to be authorised by myself as I was concerned about exorbitant costs that are out-of-kilter with how much the car is worth. "Oh no, don't worry. We just applied a computer update as there was a recall on your issue and this should have been addressed previously!". I had been having my car serviced at JAF for the few years prior and was of course concerned. So I rang JAF and challenged them on whether they had performed all recall-related updates etc and they said there wasn't a recall on my car.

 

Fast forward to a Saturday and I go off to collect my car (by this point I had already agreed on buying a Mazda 2 with a guesstimate on the trade-in value of my vehicle, subject to a dealer's viewing), I asked NHF what they actually did to fix my car. This time the story was different -- they just reprogrammed my transmission (they again emphasised that the work was free) and the service advisor joyfully advised that "Oh people have been having a lot of problems with these dual-clutch transmissions. Ford has extended the warranty to [she fluctuated between 8 years to 10 as the conversation went] years and what we do when people have problems is update their transmission computer first, then we'll replace the clutch if the first step doesn't work, and if things still aren't fixed, Ford will replace the whole transmission!" (let's call this the 3-step routine). I explained to her that the car's failure almost caused a multiple car-crash and she just didn't seem to get why I was concerned. NHF also declined to provide any written record on what they actually did to my car.

 

On many levels I no longer cared about this car and only needed it to last long enough for me to trade it in. But intrigued I rang Ford the following week, which denied there was any kind of warranty extension and that "most likely"  the car was fixed as a gesture of good will. Boy, if I wanted to keep the car, I sure would have been assured given that I have no firm understanding of what was wrong with it and where I stood in the future. So I did a bit of online digging and these transmissions have actually been an absolute nightmare and are the subject of class lawsuits in the US and Australia. Incredibly, many people have reported actually having to endure the first two steps of the 3-step routine before the transmission was replaced, with free near-death experiences along the way.

 

In conclusion

 

Given what I've experienced, and what I have since found out from colleagues who owns/owned Fiestas and Focuses of between 2011-2013 vintage (mostly identical experiences), and Ford's infamous decision to deliberately strip out many essential safety features from the current model Mustang (leading it to become a 2 star rated safety crapbox in crash tests), I can only conclude that I will never again touch a Ford. Perhaps this is a lesson that many already know but if it helps someone in one way, this post would have been worth it. Their current offerings are also just out of touch with their competitors in terms of pricing, specifications, and warranty terms.


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  # 1806394 25-Jun-2017 14:30
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The important thing is you made the right choice in the end and went with superior Japanese technology. I don't understand why people even bother with American clunkers like Ford and Holden.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 1806412 25-Jun-2017 15:02
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This i why I do my own servicing it costs me maybe an hour tops of my time to do and I know what where and how much it cost me 

 

Not all fords are made the same my 2005 Focus 2ltr made in South Africa is perfectly fine after 247K Kms 


 
 
 
 


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  # 1806413 25-Jun-2017 15:03
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I believe that Ford and Mazda aren't as intertwined now as they have been and the Mazda 2 isn't based on the same platform as the Ford Fiesta but aren't the dealerships in NZ usually co-located? Are the same people that "serviced" your Ford going to be better behaved working on your Mazda?

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  # 1806414 25-Jun-2017 15:06
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A Mazda 2 is also known as a Ford Fiesta.




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  # 1806419 25-Jun-2017 15:20
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A colleague of mine has a recent (c 2015) Ford Focus, and has already had the transmission replaced once. Googling the model number reveals that she is not alone...

I was considering getting one of these, but am now steering towards a Mazda 3 / Axela.



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  # 1806420 25-Jun-2017 15:21
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When you look deeper, it's actually quite easy (and tragically so) to explain how otherwise intelligent, sophisticated people fall for crapbox brands like Ford, Holden, the VW brands, and others of a similar ilk. Especially when you are talking about relatively young-ish professional types who haven't owned many cars and are time poor. In my teens I had a hand-me-down VW Polo from my mum after she bought it as a second car and decided she didn't want it after a year. It had a few minor problems but wasn't too bad. On the premise that "German engineering is better" and the fact that the interior of the then Polo looked so much better than most other small cars, I bought another one in my mid-20s. A large portion of that was paid out of a trade-in that I got for nothing and an inheritance from a grandparent. What could go wrong if you're relatively young and impetuous?

 

Roll forward a few years, by then I was a late 20s professional on pretty good money but with little time. What did I do? Read lots of reviews by motor writers, lots of whom named the Fiesta their Car of the Year or at least Small Car of the Year. That's gotta be worth something, right? Then you also account for the fact that in those days the Mazda 2 was pretty poorly speced, the Yaris/Corolla were boring, noisy, and had poor interiors, and people's general allergy towards the Korean cars (irrationally as they might be, I also held it), the Fiesta became an "obvious" choice if I wasn't going to touch the Euros. And this is coming from a guy who isn't a car nut and wasn't irrationally attached to Ford's so called "cachet" on the basis of its racing "heritage".

 

Don't forget also that most car reviewers spend 90% of their reviews talking about how the car drives and how most people focus on the "feel" of the car when they test drive, whilst things like long-term ownership costs/risks often fly out the window. Once you've had a couple of lemons, you actually do smarten up. This and the fact that you start to realise that most motor journalists have less ethics than your average drug dealer or politician, by continuing to recommend the likes of VW or even naming them this and that of the year, despite dieselgate and all their well-known issues.

 

The trouble is you often have to suffer some pretty steep and significant lessons along the way before you learn. Relatively speaking, I was lucky -- being on a high income and one of the two crapboxes that I paid for still being broadly reliable even if the car was otherwise crap.




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  # 1806421 25-Jun-2017 15:24
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BlinkyBill: A Mazda 2 is also known as a Ford Fiesta.

 

That's completely wrong. Ford used to have a substantial shareholding in Mazda but have divested most of it and they no longer share technology to anywhere the extent that they used to. In addition, Mazda does not use (and have a track record of avoiding) fancy-pants tech like the dual clutch that have come back and bit their owners. If you read objective publications like Consumer Report in the US, the reliability difference between Mazda and Ford is also significant.

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  # 1806422 25-Jun-2017 15:27
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Athlonite:

 

This i why I do my own servicing it costs me maybe an hour tops of my time to do and I know what where and how much it cost me 

 

Not all fords are made the same my 2005 Focus 2ltr made in South Africa is perfectly fine after 247K Kms 

 

 

Doing your own scheduled servicing presents issues with factory warranties.

 

2015 Focus "Trend" I hired in Auckland a few weeks ago was quite the most unpleasant modern car I've driven


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  # 1806423 25-Jun-2017 15:27
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As an ex Ford owner I can empathise.  Never ever will I ever again own a Ford.  Mind you both mine were Aussie assembled, and those Aussies cannot assemble a car to save themselves.  Shame really as they can offer a lot, but the ongoing problems are not worth it.  





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  # 1806424 25-Jun-2017 15:28
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The current model Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2 share the same platform "The Ford B3 platform (for "B-class") is a subcompact automobile platform that is jointly developed by Ford Motor Company and Mazda Motor Company at centers in Europe as well as North America and Australia." (Wikipedia).




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  # 1806434 25-Jun-2017 15:38
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BlinkyBill: The current model Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2 share the same platform "The Ford B3 platform (for "B-class") is a subcompact automobile platform that is jointly developed by Ford Motor Company and Mazda Motor Company at centers in Europe as well as North America and Australia." (Wikipedia).

 

But again this ignores the reality that the engines are different, transmissions are different, and the relative record of the two manufacturers. The Mazda is also built in Japan.

 

To me, though, the most important factor is Mazda's conservatism when it comes to what they use in terms of engine and transmission tech. You only need to look at the fact that there isn't a queue of Mazda 2 (2011-2013) owners registering transmission and other substantial failures inside a couple of years of ownership. As someone who's spent about 10 years volunteering at community law centres and CABs on consumer issues (dealing with hundreds of clients), I honestly don't remember one person who needed my advice on dealing with Mazda or one of their dealers. The same applied to Toyota and Honda. Obviously, all three of the Auckland dealers who sell Mazdas also sell Fords (and two of them are truly arses in my experience) but when your car isn't as likely to die, their nastiness is easier to swallow.

 

 

 

 

 

 




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  # 1806438 25-Jun-2017 15:47
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Fred99:

 

 

 

2015 Focus "Trend" I hired in Auckland a few weeks ago was quite the most unpleasant modern car I've driven

 

 

I'd be curious to hear why you came to that conclusion. I rented a similar car (think my one was a 2016) a few months ago. Whilst it has lost the horrible dual clutch, I found its lack of power and responsiveness appalling (and I am quite a nana driver). The seats also seemed to be devoid of cushioning. The autoexpert.com.au guy did a comparison video (partly) between the Focus and Mazda 3 in terms of its power and torque and I recalled that the stats were truly not pretty when it came to the Ford.

 

 

 

 


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  # 1806439 25-Jun-2017 15:50
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Our 2012 Focus had the same dual-clutch Power Shi(f)t transmission, a dry clutch system that was poorly designed and basically could not be driven like an automatic in creeping city traffic. The clutch pack overheats and is damaged, causing the shudder.
Ford sent us a letter in late 2014 extending the warranty on the vehicle's transmission to 5 years. When I took the vehicle in to NHF I got the same story. We'll test it, if it is within specific parameters we'll reprogram it, if it's outside those parameters we'll replace the clutch pack with an upgraded one. It was outside, so the clutch pack was replaced under warranty the following week. The thing is the Focus is a really great car to drive (IMO) so when the newer model came out with a conventional torque converter automatic transmission we traded the DC Focus in on that. It can be an interesting exercise to ask a used car salesman on the franchised lots what they can tell you about the transmission problems on the Fiesta, Focus, Kuga and Ecosport models with dual clutch transmissions. I have used that to judge the honesty of the dealership.
I do remember test driving a Fiesta before we bought our Swift and finding it small and tinny feeling. But then so did the Mazda 2.
After 18 months driving on NZ's rough surfaced roads, the Focus has no more rattles than other cars I have owned.
As far as servicing costs go I hadn't found them too much different from franchised dealers for Nissan or Suzuki either. I was pleasantly surprised when I got my Toyota serviced last time, it's rates were about 60% of Ford or Nissan. Business is so cutthroat at the sales side of things at the moment, a salesman admitted to me that servicing, finance and sales incentives from the manufacturers is what makes the new car business viable.
I wonder how many people such as the OP that Ford have burned over this transmission saga, that will never buy another car from them. It's a shame there isn't a 'Lemon' law in NZ that would require something like this manufacturing/design defect to be recalled and fixed at the manufacturer's expense.




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  # 1806443 25-Jun-2017 16:04
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My car is a 2007 German manufactured Ford Focus Sports 2.0. It's great. Before that I had a Aussi manufactured AU Falcon - brilliant motor but poor body work which started rusting out around the windscreen and in the boot. Prior to that I had an EB Falcon which was just all round brilliant. I've read about the dual clutch ones and agree they sound like absolute POS. The worst one I had was the AU and I knew about body issues in the series (affects almost all Aus built Fords) but at the price I was offered the car I couldn't resist. Got 11 years out of it. I'd happily own Ford again but would, as I do before all car purchases, do plenty of reading up.


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  # 1806444 25-Jun-2017 16:05
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dejadeadnz:

BlinkyBill: The current model Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2 share the same platform "The Ford B3 platform (for "B-class") is a subcompact automobile platform that is jointly developed by Ford Motor Company and Mazda Motor Company at centers in Europe as well as North America and Australia." (Wikipedia).


But again this ignores the reality that the engines are different, transmissions are different, and the relative record of the two manufacturers. The Mazda is also built in Japan.


To me, though, the most important factor is Mazda's conservatism when it comes to what they use in terms of engine and transmission tech. You only need to look at the fact that there isn't a queue of Mazda 2 (2011-2013) owners registering transmission and other substantial failures inside a couple of years of ownership. As someone who's spent about 10 years volunteering at community law centres and CABs on consumer issues (dealing with hundreds of clients), I honestly don't remember one person who needed my advice on dealing with Mazda or one of their dealers. The same applied to Toyota and Honda. Obviously, all three of the Auckland dealers who sell Mazdas also sell Fords (and two of them are truly arses in my experience) but when your car isn't as likely to die, their nastiness is easier to swallow.


 


 


 


"That's completely wrong". "The Mazda is also built in Japan".

Mazda 2 are built in "Hōfu, Yamaguchi, Japan; Rayong, Thailand (AAT); Salamanca, Guanajuato, Mexico" (Wikipedia).

It just amuses me that someone would rail against a Ford, then buy the same car - as a Mazda!




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