Shift for brains: Mustang owners sue Ford over transmission issue
The plaintiffs claim their performance cars come with defective econobox stickshifts
Some owners of the Blue Oval’s iconic pony car, the Mustang, apparently intend to take legal action against the company, claiming their vehicles’ manual transmissions exhibit less-than-stellar operating characteristics.
Five plaintiffs are bringing action for themselves and on behalf of all hands who bought or leased a 2011 through 2019 Mustang equipped with the Getrag MT82 stickshift.
The case alleges the cars were delivered to consumers by Ford with inherent defects in design, manufacturing process, and/or materials.
They describe issues including “slips, jerks, gear clashes, harsh, difficult and inability to shift” as related to internal issues inside the transmission and clutch components. In particular, blame is thrown at the feet of the transmission’s synchros, which the plaintiffs allege were adapted from parts intended for less powerful vehicles.
Your author will take this opportunity to note he experienced all of the above while trying to learn how to drive a manual on the steep hills of downtown St. John’s in a clapped-out Ford Escort. However, those issues were largely related to the age of the machine and a good dose of user error. My long-suffering parents should be sainted.
Filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan last month, the claim originated in California but was transferred to the mitten state for a variety of Very Important legal reasons. It surely also helps to have the case heard in Ford’s backyard rather than the far-flung West Coast. None of the allegations have yet been proven in court.
According to the plaintiffs, the transmission defect is latent (meaning it doesn’t rear its head until later in the car’s life) but existed at the time those Mustangs in question left the factory. Blame is pointed at a supplier switch, one which the suit claims Ford opted for because the “cheaper Chinese made Getrag transmissions […] reduce cost.” It is pointed out in court docs that Ford used Tremec and Borg-Warner transmissions in predecessor vehicles.
Driving.CA – Matthew Guy