Ford in talks with consumer watchdog to resolve Kuga fire cases - report

2019-09-22 10:24
Ford Kuga. (File)

Ford Kuga. (File)

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Ford has entered talks with the National Consumer Commission (NCC), to bring a close to the incidents of one of their vehicles, the Ford Kuga SUVs, catching alight, Sunday Times has reported.

The NCC had previously indicated it would be pursing the prosecution of Ford, after the company approached it to reach a negotiated settlement. Should a settlement be reached, it is unlikely that details of the cases will be made public knowledge.

The NCC is the main regulator of consumer affairs, and refers matters to the tribunal for prosecution. The largest fine the tribunal could issue is 10% of Ford SA's annual turnover.

READ | Ford Kuga: Jimmy family withdraws legally from inquest, believes evidence dispels 'unfounded rumours'

According to the NCC, a settlement would allow for consumers who have been affected to receive redress.

Ford reportedly approached the commission to resolve the matter before prosecution papers could be served. Should the negotiations fail, the NCC is expected to proceed to the tribunal.

Deadline

A deadline of November 30 has been set for the talks between the NCC and Ford to be concluded. The three-year deadline by which Kuga owners who were affected by the recall must lodge claims is in January 2020. For many of the owners, whose vehicles caught alight in 2016, the three-year deadline has already passed.

To lodge a damages claim, consumers must first be issued with liability certificates naming Ford as responsible for the fires. These certificates are only issued if requested by commission officials prosecuting companies before the tribunal. The officials are not obliged to request a certificate.

Ford has paid out the outstanding instalments of motorists whose Kugas were destroyed by the fires.

In February, an inquest was undertaken into the death of Reshall Jimmy, who was found dead in a burnt Ford Kuga in 2015.

Jimmy was found dead in a burnt out Ford Kuga in Wilderness, George, on December 4, 2015. There were 52 incidents of fires in Ford Kuga vehicles after that, but nobody was injured.

Ford later issued recall notices of 4 670 vehicles to rectify an engine cooling deficiency. The inquest is expected to conclude next month, although there is the likelihood that the cause of the Jimmy's death will be found undetermined. The National Prosecuting Authority declined to prosecute anybody in connection with Jimmy's death.

- compiled by Nicole McCain 

Read more on:    ford  |  national consumer commission  |  reshall jimmy  |  courts  |  accidents
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