Banner Vehicles July 2019

The future for the Ford Focus

Back in 2018, Ford issued the recall of the Focus that related to a flaw that could cause the engine to stall. Now, regulators are looking into whether or not that recall actually worked, following reports of continued engine stalling from Focus owners. The recall only related to the 2012-2018 Ford Focus equipped with the 2.0L GDI and the 2.0L GTDI engines.

Ford Focus RecallDocuments published at the time show that the malfunction affected nearly 1.3 million vehicles. The problem was with the Canister Purge Valve (CPV) that could stay open and the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) software unable to detect the error. This could throw the engine’s air-fuel ratio out of balance, leading to a loss of engine power.

If that happened, the driver should notice a malfunction light on the dashboard, as well as erratic fuel gauge readings. In the worst case scenario, the excess of vacuum, in the fuel vapor management system could even lead to the fuel tank deforming.

When it announced the recall, Ford proposed a solution that involved reprogramming the PCM that would detect a CPV system malfunction and prevent excessive fuel vapor vacuum to avoid stalling the engine.

Powertrain ControlIn the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a Recall Query, because it has received owner complaints alleging CPV failure in these same vehicles. These failures are occurring in vehicles that were either included in the recall or were not included in Ford’s original recall.

The regulator says that it has opened this investigation to assess the scope of Ford’s recall remedy. Ford was the manufacturer with the most recalls in the first half of 2023, and NHTSA has opened two more inquiries into the efficacy of its previous recalls since the middle of 2023.

The news has already been announced that Ford has axed the Fiesta and the Focus will be axed before the end of 2025. The dropping of the Ford Fiesta and Focus models shows how disruptive the switch to EV’s is and how the use of software will be for automakers used in traditional combustion engines.

Ford FiestaFor nearly 50 years, small hatchbacks have been one of the most popular cars in Europe and other regions around the world. Less than a decade ago, Ford was celebrating it becoming the UK’s best-selling car of all time and now within a couple of years it will be gone.

A lot has been written about how disruptive the switch to battery powered vehicles and the software required to run these vehicles has been. The Fiesta and Focus are good examples of this long-predicted turmoil. This all started in 2018, when Ford made the radical decision to move away from being a conventional multi-model automaker, shrinking its passenger vehicle line-up down to only higher margin performance models like the Mustang.

To finance the costly move to develop EV’s that work like rolling connected devices, Ford needed to concentrate resources on their SUV’s and trucks that actually make them money.

This transformation has taken longer to play out in Europe, where pickups are not nearly the phenomenon they are in the U.S. and small cars are still popular sellers.

But while Europe’s compact and small vehicle segments have remained somewhat relevant, they are also extremely fragmented. 8 of the 11 best selling vehicles in that region last year were small cars, according to market research. At the top was the Peugeot 208 and second was the Dacia Sandero, these two were the only vehicles to clock over 200,000 registrations.

Getting back to Ford’s recalled Focus, Ford has advised owners to keep the fuel tank at halfway full. To fix the problem, Ford dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module and replace the canister purge valve, if necessary. If the valve is replaced, dealers will also inspect and replace the carbon canister, fuel tank, and fuel delivery module as needed.

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