Last post on Jul 28, 2013 at 5:39 PM
You are in the Ford Focus
What is this discussion about?
Ford Focus, Sedan
#1427 of 2014 Reliability/Warranty
Nov 07, 2003 (7:55 am)
A few weeks ago, I took my 2001 Focus SE (ZTEC engine – 47,000 miles) to the dealer to replace the fuel pump, expecting to pay a huge amount of $$$. I have one of those ‘problem’ Focus that has had numerous problems such as:
1) Brakes squealed like a worn out garbage truck when the car was brand new
2) Engine was replaced at 10,000 miles due to a ‘bad cam’
3) The alternator would drain the battery dead whenever the car sat for 2 days, (17,000 miles) – needed 4 trips to the dealer to fix this.
4) Check engine light sending unit need to be replaced (24,000 miles)
5) The passenger footwell leaked rain water. (cause: cowl was bad – 32,000 miles).
6) Now, a fuel pump!!!
Anyway, to my surprise, because I’ve been taking the car into the dealer every few months to have a problem fixed, the dealer put me on one of Fords extended warranty programs (5 years/75,000 miles) for free without me even knowing about it. I thought that was pretty cool. Anybody else that has had numerous problems with the car should at least try to see if their dealer will do the same, assuming you go to the same dealer on a regular basis.
Also, for those people that hate Ford because of the Focus problems, I also own a 1996 Taurus Wagon (the wife’s car) with 130,000 miles that is still running strong. It has had far fewer problems them my 1994 Toyota Corolla with same mileage (the car I had before the Focus). My car prior to that one was a 1987 T-Bird w/125,000 miles before a New York City taxicab totaled it. I’d have no hesitation about buying a 2004 Focus.
#1428 of 2014 My car: fdthird
Nov 07, 2003 (8:55 am)
I own a 2001 ZX3. I just dropped it off this morning for the dead a/c. 67,500 miles.
Nyfocus: The Taurus only had major glitches way back when the first model was introduced. Since then, they've been rated about "average." The Focus, up until now, has been a risky buy.
The Focus was a big headache for Ford. If you do a search, you'll see they had huge quality issues before production started and they didn't want to delay the launch. They actually had engineers from Germany to help get the plant going (since it was already being manufactured there a whole year prior), but there were still issues with the first cars off the line. Since time is money, they just let the cars go until they could come up with a solution.
Now, I'd be curious to know if the cars that came out of Michigan were statistically more reliable than those that came from Mexico. Anecdotal evidence shows there to be no difference.
The old computer theory of GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT is what applies here. Ford has recogized they needed to control the design of the parts going into the cars, rather than let the part suppliers design it for them, and they have made this change.
Obviously, not all the cars can be lemons. However, the percentage of people with problems on 2000 to 2002 series vehicles is unacceptably high and we, as paying customers, should not be asked to endure this kind of abuse because Ford wanted to make their launch times. It especially pisses me off that I'm treated as a second class citizen because I didn't buy a monster SUV. This is not an "economy" car for me. This is a small coupe that's fun to drive with a very well laid out interior. It has all the elements of a successful vehicle. I make $80k a year and have no debt, I can afford a Mercedes, I chose to buy a Focus.
In the end, the good that can come from the Focus is that it will eventually raise the bar for cars in the segment. I'm hoping the Mazda3 will have the same driving characteristics as the Focus (since it's on the euro focus platform). The Focus proved you don't have to spend big bucks to get sophisticated handling and ride with a non-cookie cutter design.
Adding insult to injury is that the dealers are mostly out to screw you. It's not enough that my car is broken, but now I have to battle the dealer to get the repair done. I might feel differently about my car if the dealer didn't treat me like it was my fault, or tried to tell me there is no problem. I've tried four different dealers in search of a decent one.
I have a friend that has worked for Chrysler for the past 7 years. I could tell you stories that would make you furious. The manufacturer knows and orders the dealers not EVER let the customer know if they've seen a problem before. Even if the company is well aware of repeated issues, they cannot say "we've seen this before." Furthermore, the regional manager will tell the dealer (for example), "you've got too many warranty claims for catalytic converters. If you don't get that down we may have to audit your dealer." This actually happened last week! They ended up telling the customer with 40k miles on his PT Cruiser that his Catylitic converter wasn't under warranty anymore. Can you imagine?? I'd be irate.
I know Chrysler is not alone in this, and these practices have to stop. Domestic marks will continue to lose market share until it does.
Nov 07, 2003 (11:16 am)
Yes, that's what I was wondering too...are the Mexico cars more prone to problems or is it the other way around or across the board. My son's SE was made in the Wayne plant and I would be interesting to see if the figures skew one way or another.
"Adding insult to injury is that the dealers are mostly out to screw you. It's not enough that my car is broken, but now I have to battle the dealer to get the repair done."
Now, I think those two sentences sum up what the real problem is and that in my opinion is how the dealer handles the situation. Nyfocus' story above about the dealer putting his 2001 in for the Ford extended warranty without his even asking tells me that he is dealing with a good dealer. My Ford dealer (we bought one 2000 and two 2001 Fords from them in a one year period) is great and I have a wonderful relationship with the Service Manager. He has done everything possible to make the ownership of our Fords as pleasant as possible and when we have had a problem or two he has gone the extra miles to make sure it was handled as easily as possible (even providing loaners for as long as they need to have our cars).
I've said it before and I'll say it again...the car companies MUST work in partnership with the local dealers and they MUST encourage the dealers to be the best that they can be, because the only relationship most car owners have with the car company is that dealer. The local dealers will either make or break the car company. A problem car is a lot better with a great dealer but a problem car with a rotten dealer is the kiss of death for the manufacturer!
Nov 07, 2003 (12:19 pm)
I am beginning to recognize the fact that Ford is tough on the dealers. They set times for warranty repairs that are unreasonable and they only pay a fixed amount for the problem (not unlike and HMO).
I don't have a dealership so I can't say if it's possible to be profitable under those circumstances.
I just want for the service manager NOT to tell me "it's the wind" when my car is hesitating, or "this is normal" when I hear noises from the suspension. That's just slap in the face.
There's no reason why people who by Fords can't get the same treatment as people who buy Lexus.
Nov 07, 2003 (5:36 pm)
Don't forget to express your appreciation to your dealer for that extended warranty. Sounds like they went to bat for you.
Nov 07, 2003 (5:38 pm)
"There's no reason why people who by Fords can't get the same treatment as people who buy Lexus."
Actually, there is a pretty good reason: There is a lot more profit in a Lexus sale than a Focus.
#1433 of 2014 Dealers and Service
Nov 07, 2003 (7:32 pm)
I know what you mean about getting lame excuses for the way a car acts...It always seems that the standard operating procedure is that there is something wrong with the driver, not the car!
Its not only Ford dealers thou that play that game. A couple of years ago I had my Mom's Volvo 850 for a couple of months while she was out of town (getting away from the winter weather!). One day my wife calls me from school and tells me she can't get the key out of the ignition. Well, when I come home I play with it and son of a gun, she's right. No matter how hard I jam the shifter into Park, I can't fully turn the key to the off position. I sit in my driveway and diagnose the problem as an alignment issue with the gear selector, so I call the Volvo dealer (all their license plate frames call it the largest Volvo dealer in the world). The first question, "is the car in park?" (dahhh) Second question "are you sure the car's in park??"
Well, I take the car over there and drop it off (they have valet parking at the service department)and they keep it for 2 days. Final disposition, a misalignment with the floor selector. The car was in Park but the selector was off so the mechanism "thought" the car was not in park!
Its like the computer guys asking you if the computer is plugged in??? Come on folks...we're not all bozos!
Nov 09, 2003 (10:44 am)
After reading the CR report on Focus reliability, it seems to me that only the SVT was on the recomended list. Does anyone know if that recomendation applies to the rest of the Focus line? Particularly the new PZEV cars? Also, does anyone know the 0 to 60 time and top speed of the PZEV ZX3? I would really appreciate the answers to my questions as my ordered car is to be delivered in 3 days, and I would like to know what I am buying. My car will have an automatic trans, so my question on time to 60 and top speed would be for the auto car. Many thanks in advance. All comments appreciated.
#1435 of 2014 snakerbill!!!!
Nov 09, 2003 (5:02 pm)
hi, no offense snakerbill,but didn't you read all the negative comments on the focus.with tons of other new models out there why would you buy a ford? you'll have more to worry about then a 0-60 time.the reviews are still not good yet,wait another year.i know i know the style and handling drew me in too and boy i should of read up on it more.too late for me.bye
#1436 of 2014 Why did nyfocus get a free extended warranty?
Nov 09, 2003 (8:44 pm)
The service writer didn't personally come and break your car. The dealership is a separate entity from Ford, is contractually obligated to fix your car, yet is under many constraints from FoMoCo on how to go about fixing the car.
Understand that, treat people with respect, and good things come of it.
Have a nice day guys.