US auto giant Ford has replaced nine examples of the new Ford Ranger ute in the past six months due to technical faults, but has vowed to respond faster to customer complaints and reduce response times.
Ford Australia has revealed that it has replaced nine examples of the new generation– including two high-profile cases that garnered national media attention on Channel Nine this week, since the model went on sale six months ago.
After beingby the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ( ) in 2018 for multiple warranty breaches related to other models in the range, the US auto giant says it has expanded its Melbourne-based customer complaints division, but admits it still needs to do better by addressing major vehicle faults and reducing response times.
The aggrieved customers at the center of this week’s media firestorm, a Ford Ranger Wildtrak owner and a Ford Ranger XLT owner, told the television show that their vehicles broke down multiple times shortly after taking delivery and that they were frustrated by the delays in repairing or replacing their vehicles.
The images were broadcast on Channel Nine, owner of drive.com.au – showed examples of customer cars displaying warnings, digital instruments that had gone completely blank, and images of the vehicle on a tow truck.
Along with a photo of her new Ford Ranger Wildtrak with a giant ribbon on it the day she picked it up, owner Bianca Fitzsimmons told the TV show: “This is my first new car. I was really excited about it.”
Bianca’s new Ford Ranger broke down three times with mechanical and electrical failure in the first few months of ownership.
When a road trip to Queensland was cut short by mechanical goblins, Ford was unable to provide Bianca with a loaner car and had to get around on foot, while pregnant.
Failures continued to occur after numerous repairs. “The car slammed to a stop at 80 km/h. Being pregnant, I am lucky not to suffer any injuries,” Bianca told the television show. “NRMA came out and they said…the vehicle needs to be towed.”
She said the car had a “pre-crash systems failure, parking sensors failure, reversing sensors malfunctioned, check manual.”
Both the large digital instrument and the infotainment screens went blank. “No speedometer, no turn signals, no fuel gauge, nothing,” Bianca said.
Although Bianca’s Ford Ranger was replaced by Ford in December, three days before Christmas, she said the process took too long and she didn’t think her concerns about the car were taken seriously at first.
“I asked them to replace the car and last time I got a letter saying that under (Australian Consumer Law) this car does not meet the replacement (guidelines),” Bianca said.
“It’s not like it’s a pair of jeans. I really don’t think that’s all you can do when it comes to a $77,000 purchase.
“I think I have been treated disgustingly. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a woman and (Ford) thought they could get away with it.”
Ford Australia has apologized for the time it took to replace Bianca’s Ford Ranger Wildtrak and says it is “working hard” to improve customer complaints.
Meanwhile, another Ford Ranger customer, Alex Tomlinson, said he was only able to drive his car for a month before it experienced problems.
“That first problem, the vehicle was in the dealership for at least a month and a half. They told me I could come pick up the vehicle,” Alex told the television show.
“When jumping into the vehicle, it showed some errors. Day after, same problem again. The car was completely dead. I was in shock.”
Alex now has a loaner car while Ford searches for a replacement vehicle.
However, because Alex purchased a unique model, a Ford Ranger XLT 4×2, none were in stock. The replacement vehicle for it is being built and should be delivered in February.
“They certainly dragged out the process,” Alex told the television show. “They didn’t treat me like he should have been treated as a customer buying a new vehicle.”
In a statement to HandleFord Australia said Ms Fitzsimmons received her replacement vehicle late last year and the company has already agreed to replace Mr Tomlinson’s vehicle; however, it must be built and then shipped to Australia as it is a one of a kind model.
“Mr Tomlinson’s replacement Ranger is due in February and in the meantime he has been provided with a Ranger as a loaner vehicle,” a statement from Ford Australia said.
“We recognize that there were delays during that process and we apologize for any inconvenience this caused.”
There have been numerous Ford Ranger weaknesses and failures reported on social media platforms, the most prominent of which was a batch of faulty tail shafts that would cause the vehicle to vibrate at speed.
A manufacturing fault on the part of the supplier of the tail axles delayed the delivery of more than 1,000 Ford Ranger utes nationwide, or required the replacement of parts.
Other Ford Ranger faults documented on social media include blank instrument displays or digital displays showing multiple images on top of each other.
In these cases, the defective parts are replaced or the software is updated and generally do not guarantee a vehicle buyback or complete vehicle replacement.
Since the new generation Ford Ranger has had a rocky start, Handle asked Ford Australia how many have been replaced due to warranty issues.
“Of the 25,587 next-generation Ford Rangers that have been sold since its launch (July 2022), we have replaced nine vehicles where cases could not be resolved or where there have been unreasonable delays in completing repairs. ”, said a statement from Ford.
ford did not reply unit of asked about how the number of vehicle replacements for the new Ford Ranger compared to the previous model, but noted: “We take our responsibility to treat our customers properly and our obligations under Australian Consumer Law seriously. .
“When we have had cases that have taken longer than reasonable or were not resolved to the satisfaction of our customers, we have offered to replace the vehicles.”
Asked if Ford required or forced customers to sign non-disclosure agreements regarding warranty complaints and/or vehicle replacements or buybacks, the company said, “We do not ask these two customers to sign nondisclosure agreements, and we do not we ask no client to do so. .
“When customers replace their vehicles, we ask them to sign a release letter confirming that they agree to the vehicle replacement as a resolution to their case.”
When Handle Asked how many people work in Ford Australia customer support dealing with vehicle buybacks and replacements, the company said: “We have a dedicated team who handle vehicle replacements and ensure quick response in the small number of cases where vehicle replacements are required.
“Since 2016 we have significantly increased the size and capabilities of our team. We’ve improved training, streamlined processes, increased empowerment of frontline team members, and increased our ability to process complaints more quickly.
“But we always strive to do better. When things go wrong, we take them seriously.
“Behind the scenes, we’ve also implemented a proactive support process to speed up problem resolution, so that when our roadside assistance partner indicates a vehicle is being towed, a member of the (customer service) team will contact with them and will coordinate with the dealer to arrange a vehicle loan and work with them to diagnose the problem and provide the technical assistance they need.
Ford Australia says that any customer with concerns about their vehicle can contact one of 60 customer service specialists based in its Melbourne office on 13 FORD (13 36 73).