Ford SA recalls its 1.6 litre Kuga model

By Khatija Nxedlana
16 January 2017

This after dozens of the cars went up in flames.

Ford has announced a recall of its 1.6 litre Kuga model following dozens of vehicles catching alight.

The company which has been criticised for their silence on the matter, held a joint media briefing with the National Consumer Commission in Pretoria on Monday afternoon.

In December 2015, one driver, Reshall Jimmy was killed when his Ford Kuga went up in flames. While expressing condolences to Reshall's family, who were present at the briefing, Ford SA CEO Jeff Nemeth said while Reshall’s case has not been determined, all investigating parties have ruled out an engine compartment fire.

“We will continue to communicate with the Jimmy family and the authorities through the channels that we’ve established. We also invite anyone else who has any information including the family who may have relevant information to this unique and unrelated case to share it with the authorities,” Nemeth said.

Nemeth says the recent fires affecting the 1.6 litre Ford Kugas have been extremely unfortunate and concerning for both Ford and their customers.

“At Ford, the safety of our customers is our number one priority,” Nemeth said.

He says, data collected from their investigation and information obtained from maintenance checks that were started in December assisted the company in identifying the root cause of the fires.

“Based on current data, the fires are due to over-heating caused by a lack of cooling circulation which can lead to a cracking in the cylinder head and therefore an oil leak. If the leaking oil reaches a hot engine component, it can potentially catch fire,” Nemeth said.

Ford has confirmed that a total of 39 incidents have been reported to them, adding that there may be others that have not yet been reported – urging those with similar experience to come forward to the Ford Customer service team.

The voluntary safety recall is limited to the 1.6 litre Ford Kuga built between December 2012 and February 2014.

“Other Kuga engine derivatives including the 1.5 and 2 litre models are not affected,” Nemeth said.

He says the safety recall comprises two stages, the first being replacing affected component on the cooling system, verifying an updating the software and conducting an oil leak check on the cylinder head. The second stage will make the cooling system even more robust and is likely to involve further changes in parts and warning systems.

“We are currently ensuring that the changes we make are complete and thoroughly tested and we will communicate with our customers as soon as this stage commences,” Nemeth says.

The company says they’re making every effort to minimize inconvenience.

“We are committed to keeping our customers mobile. Should they experience any over-heating problems with their 1.6 Kuga, arrangements will be made through their Ford dealer or our customer service to provide a courtesy car while their vehicle is being repaired”.

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