25 years in the making: 2012 Ford Focus 6-speed PowerShift automatic transmission

Ford Focus
Ford has put a lot of work into the 2012 Ford Focus. The Dearborn automaker has now released details about the 2012 Focus’ PowerShift dry-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission, which it says will offer “exceptional shift quality to drivers.”

The whole system is apparently part of an inventive Ford transmission technology that has been waiting nearly 25 years for computing power to catch up to make it a reality.

Click here for more news on the Ford Focus.

“Focus features the Ford PowerShift dry-clutch six-speed automatic transmission, one of the first transmissions to benefit from Torque Hole Filling (THF), a Ford-developed and patented concept and methodology conceived a quarter century ago,” Ford said in a statement. “THF uses a combination of mathematical algorithms, computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools and transmission control technologies to fill what is commonly known as the torque hole – the slight hesitation drivers may feel during an upshift when there is a momentary drop in transmission torque output followed by a rise in torque.”

The torque hole has been inherent to automatic transmissions since the 1940s, said Ford Research Technical Expert Chris Teslak. “Even though much work in controls and calibration has been done over the years, it has remained a major challenge,” he said.

Well, it’s finally here.

Refresher: The 2012 Ford Focus is powered by 2.0L DOHC inline 4-clyinder unit with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), direct gasoline injection and E85 flex fuel capability. The engine produces 160-hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. The 2012 Focus is offered in S, SE, SEL and Titanium trim-levels with prices starting at $16,270.

2012 Ford Focus:

2012 Ford Focus 2012 Ford Focus 2012 Ford Focus 2012 Ford Focus

– By: Omar Rana

24 thoughts on “25 years in the making: 2012 Ford Focus 6-speed PowerShift automatic transmission

  • June 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    We purchased a 2012 ford focus s one month ago tomorrow. Slight hesitation my ass. And “torque hole”?! This car fell in it twice as it had slipped gear and died on the highway on my husband, and it died on our baby and I three days later. Sudden gear slip, car tachs up to 6- won’t find gear- you gotta hope you can coast out of traffic.
    Dealer can’t find anything wrong with it and want to attach a “flight recording type device” so when we breakdown again it can help them find out what’s wrong. Aren’t these things supposed to be figured out before the manufacturer can sell them? 25 years wasn’t long enough- this thing still isn’t ready.

  • July 17, 2011 at 12:48 am

    My automatic 2012 Focus now has 2040 miles on it and is a little better than when new but still lags when you hit the gas hard; seems to jam up at times; shifts up too soon, etc.   To me this is a safety hazard in stop and go driving and Ford recently sent me an engineer to inspect it.   They say a computer update is coming in August which may improve it….stay tuned.

  • July 26, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I also recently purchased a 2012 Focus SEL in May of this year. While driving with our son in the car (he is over 40 and a gearhead), he felt a slight vibration underneath his passenger seat when I came to a stop. He told me to get it checked out because it might be the Torque  converter. I took it to the dealer last week and they said because of the 6 speed transmission, I will feel that when sometimes stopping, driving in a parking lot or accelerating too fast from a stop. Our son does not buy that explanation. Are they going to let every Focus owner know of that update?

  • July 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I’m not familiar with underseat vibrations, and I don’t know if Ford will notify all automatic Focus owners when the update is ready.  Ford now knows it has a big P.R. problem on its hands, and is trying to finesse it with euphemisms and “tech talk” that it hopes will minimize the severity of the problem.  Dealers are receiving an “enlightenment memo” that allegedly teaches them how to downplay the Powershift defects when a customer complains.  I think it’s dishonorable, especially when they could easily offer the Mazda conventional automatic as an option. Or they could offer current owners a cash rebate for their misery.  Or they could just wait for a class action lawsuit, which is historically what it takes to make Ford do the right thing….

  • August 15, 2011 at 1:43 am

     2012 focus,  while driving at 40 mph , pushed down for passing and it died out lost power and almost quit running till i let up on gas, this tranny is junk, dont shift well at stop lights, jerks and vibrates all the way up into the steering column when accellerating

  • August 15, 2011 at 1:43 am

     2012 focus,  while driving at 40 mph , pushed down for passing and it died out lost power and almost quit running till i let up on gas, this tranny is junk, dont shift well at stop lights, jerks and vibrates all the way up into the steering column when accellerating

  • August 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Complain to the dealer and to Ford.  Ask the dealer about an update to the computer; I’ve heard that it solves the problems.   I would also file a safety complaint with the NHTSA.  If enough owners do that, they may press Ford to recall and fix the gearboxes. Keep a log of these incidents, and file a lemon law complaint if your state allows. And if you sell the car and get a lousy price, sue Ford for the difference between what you got and what you should have got if the transmission wasn’t so bad!

  • August 15, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Another weekend has yielded yet another review of the new Ford Focus [this one from the NYT]
    that’s generally impressed with car but gives it huge negatives for its
    unruly, efficiency-tuned PowerShift dual-clutch transmission. TTAC’s
    been tracking PowerShift discontent since the transmission debuted in Europe three years ago, but America’s smoldering dislike of the dual-clutcher has only erupted into flames in recent months, when Consumer Reports, TrueDelta and JD Power all dinged Ford for
    PowerShift issues as well as MyFordTouch teething woes. And, in the
    teeth of mounting criticism of its dual-clutch transmission, WardsAuto reports that Ford has

    sent dealers a memo with instructions to help sales and
    service personnel enlighten consumers about the behavioral nuances of
    the fuel-saving 6-speed automatic gearbox…
    Although the Ford gearboxes perform as intended, customers relate the
    frequency and abruptness of gearshifts to their experiences with
    conventional automatic transmissions. Hence, a perceived problem, the
    auto maker says.
    “What we really want to convey is their experience is something
    different,” [Fiesta brand manager Sherryl] Brightwell tells Ward’s,
    claiming there is nothing “wrong” with the car.

    Because it’s not a transmission problem, it’s an enlightenment problem! Nothing to worry about Ma’am, it’s just a little bit grabby between the second and third chakras.
    Seriously though, TTAC wants to know what Ford thinks consumers need to
    know before they reach the seventh level of divine PowerShift
    acceptance. So don’t spin your Dharmic wheels, TTAC-reading Ford
    dealers… shoot us a copy [contact form here, anonymity guaranteed] and we’ll let TTAC’s Best and Brightest meditate on the problem as well as its proposed solution.

  • September 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I have a similar experience to what others have previously expressed.  My 2012 Ford Focus SE jerks markedly between gears and bucks forward, particularly when I initially start driving it.  It honestly does seem like a safety hazard because the acceleration can sometimes be so unpredictable.  Sometimes when I let off the gas the car also immediately jerks slower (going into a higher gear?).  I took it to the Ford dealer; they said nothing was wrong with it and that it performs like other 2012’s  (Also, never buy from All American Ford in Hackensack, New Jersey; it is the worst customer service I have ever had, literally — they neglected to get my license plates before the temporary ones expired, had me wait for 8 hours (8am-4pm) before looking at my car (I had an 8am appointment time with them), and never offered an apology).  I contact Ford Motor Company, and they said all dealerships were independent and I would have to take any issues up with the individual dealer.  I hope Ford finds a way to fix the problem and issues a recall, because the car is currently quite unwieldy.

  • September 1, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Go to Dealerrater.com and tell the world what they did to you.  They deserve it!

  • September 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Rented a 2012 Focus for a week, have had 2 , 08 Focus’s before, I’ll take the old ones. From the first block I was unsure what to expect from the new tranny, never knew what it was going to do. I figured it was something new and thought it was going to be better as I got used to it. Never did.
    With the old ones I got better gas mileage also, the best on the new one was 31.7, the old one 33 on the road. The rest of the car was great, but I don’t think I would buy a new one for a few years.

  • September 9, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Could a simple miscommunication be at the root of the reported problems with Ford’s
    PowerShift dual-clutch transmission? Ford seems to think that’s the
    case and is asking dealers to provide plain-language instructions to
    explain how the fuel-saving six-speed automatic gearbox responds and how
    it differs from conventional automatic transmissions.
    This move comes after Ford’s Fiesta and Focus drew concern from
    third-party groups such as J.D. Power & Associates. Some buyers had
    issues with the way the transmission shifted. Ford believes the
    gearboxes are performing as designed but believe the problem lies with
    how customers correlate the frequency and abruptness of gearshifts to a
    conventional automatic transmission.

    “What we really want to convey is their experience is something
    different,” said Sherryl Brightwell, the Fiesta brand manager, to Ward’s Auto.

    One benefit, Ford says, is that the dual-clutch transmission is
    maintenance-free for 150,000 miles. The dual-clutch transmission is
    currently only offered in the Fiesta and Focus but the technology is
    expected to catch on with other models in Ford’s lineup. Currently, Ford
    says that half of all retail sales of the Fiesta have been hatchbacks
    while 41 percent of retail sales for the Focus are of the hatchback body style.

    Ford was surprised by the complaints of Focus and Fiesta drivers but
    hopes to emphasize the new transmission’s unique features for the U.S.
    market in the future. A similar transmission is offered overseas but
    Ford says it hasn’t received complaints from European consumers

    Read more: http://blogs.automotive.com/ford-deems-miscommunication-the-%e2%80%9cproblem%e2%80%9d-with-dual-clutch-transmission-42051.html#ixzz1XRCwKN2q

  • November 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I just bought a 2012 Ford foscus, I do love it. The transmission shifting is different, but I’m not having the power problem. I knew going into it. The trans is different. I am a Jaguar technician and understand how this type of trans works. The electronic controls will also adapt to your driving habits, So if your an agressive driver normaly then you drive light once in a while you will feel upshifts and down shifts more. Also on hydrolic automatics we all learn ways to move the accelorator to bump a gear up or down. This trans is not as sensitive to that. I recommend sticking with it. Just because it’s new and you have nothing to comapare it to,doesn’t mean it’s broken. PS. same type technology in Lamborgini, Ferrari etc and evan the Smart cars. These work great for optimum performance

  • June 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Just purchased a new 2012 Focus. Jerking at stops, basically anytime I accelerate!! Been in shop 6 times. Nothing has made it better, and Ford or the dealership is willing to let me out of this contract. LONG STORY SHORT. I now have a lawyer!!!

  • June 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm

     I took mine in for a free complete update to the computer that runs the trans, and the improvement is huge.  While not as smooth as I would like, it is now tolerable, so make sure you try that before suing them.  And it will also get better after the first 2000 miles or so.  I now have 6000 on it.   But if you do sue them under the Lemon law, keep us posted as to how it goes.  And be aware that you could sell the car for the best price you can get, then sue them for what it should have brought you. 

  • July 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I just purchased a focus 2012 and went to my step sons home. When my wife and I tried to back uphill the car would not back up. I had to pull into the garage and it took 4 times to get up the drive way. May wife’s son has a Honda Accord that backs out this driveway everyday. I will be at the dealer in the morning.

  • July 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    How can I file this with NHTSA? My phone number is 423-314-7273, if I don’t answer leave me a number so I can call back for this information.

  • July 9, 2012 at 8:48 am

     Go to their website.

  • September 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I am in the same boat as you. Same problem and eveything. I have had the TSB update done in December last year and it still is horrible. I have just contacted a lawyer. Have you heard anything about yours yet?

  • September 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    2000 miles whatever. Mine started the issue at 15,000 miles. I am now at 30,000 and it still does it

  • December 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    25 years to make this?.
    thats funny cause It no worky too good.
    I hate it! Its a nuisance to drive even after the 12b37 update.
    hope it dont take 25 years to get it.
    my last ford ever!.

  • May 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm


  • May 13, 2013 at 11:15 am

    This stuff is pretty funny. I have a 2009 Focus and like it. Thought about buying a new one. I guess I’ll go with a stick. A lot of times when reading complaints about things, they’re just people trying to trash a product because they like the competition or they’re just plain idiots. It seems like these complaints are legit. I think I’ll steer clear of this tranny. Thanks people for saving me from this nightmare.

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