Some Ford Kuga models have a faulty component which has resulted in their engines overheating and catching alight. To address this problem the National Consumer Commission (NCC) and Ford Motor Company Southern Africa, announced a two stage plan at a media briefing yesterday to deal with the issue of engine fires on selected Ford Kugas.
As of 16 January 2017, Ford had received 39 reports of engine fires. But there claims that this figure is higher. According to Wheels 24, 45 incidents of Ford Kugas catching on fire have been reported locally, leaving one person dead in 2016. According to Ford, this fault has only been reported on the Ford Kuga 1.6L manufactured between December 2012 and February 2014.
Jeff Nemeth, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company Southern Africa, said 4556 vehicles are affected by the fault in the coolant system. The fault allows the engine to overheat, which eventually leads to it catching on fire.
The company added that the high temperatures experienced in 2016 could have been a contributing factor to the problem, which saw a higher number of incidents reported in South Africa than elsewhere.
The NCC stressed that unsafe products do not have a place on the market and the safety of consumers is the Commission’s priority. As such, the NCC and Ford have met and discussed a way forward to help resolve the issue, and ensure consumer safety.
For the cars affected that haven’t been damaged by engine fire, Ford is implementing a two stage plan. Nemeth explained that the first stage will see the affected components of the vehicles replaced, and will include an oil leak check. This is to ensure that the vehicle is safe for the driver. If at any time you get an indication that your vehicle is overheating (whether before or after the component has been replaced), Ford stressed that motorists must pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. In such an instance, do not open the bonnet of the car.
The second stage will focus on making the cooling system more robust and making any additional changes to the system that may be required.
Nemeth emphasised that customer safety is Ford’s number one priority. As such the company’s plan to repair the affected vehicles focuses on ensuring that the Kuga 1.6L is safe to drive.
The company aims to minimise the inconvenience that customers may face while their vehicles are repaired. As such Nemeth highlighted that customers will be given a curtesy car for using during the repair process. There is usually a R1, 500 upfront fee payable for a curtesy car, however, Nemeth said this will be waivered for the affected Kuga owners. Drivers will still have to cover the cost of fuel, tolls and other related expenses. If a curtsey car is not provided by the Ford dealership you visit, you can contact the Ford head office on 0860 011 022.
Nemeth noted that parts availability may be an issue due to the number of cars affected by the recall.
Who is footing the bill?
Ford would not respond to questions regarding the cost implication of the recall. However, it did note that at this time, no extended warranty on the affected cars has been considered.
For the cars that have already been damaged due to the fault, Ford stated that this is a private matter between the vehicle owner and their insurance company. As such, Ford will not be involved in these case with regards to insurance pay outs for the vehicles. For those drivers whose vehicles were damaged due to fire, Ford noted that it will offer them a curtsey vehicle in the interim.
Nemeth emphasised that despite the problems with the Ford Kuga 1.6L, there is no reason for motorists to lose faith in their vehicles or the brand.
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