Ford Motor Company South Africa and the National Consumer Tribunal have confirmed that they reached a settlement on the Kuga SUV fires, with Ford being ordered to pay R50 000 each in compensation to affected customers.
In terms of the order, Ford will pay compensation if the consumer's vehicle was distributed between 2014 and 2017 and if it was one of the 56 Ford Kuga models that caught fire, and where the fire originated in the engine compartment and damaged the vehicle.
The commission previously conducted an investigation and found a failure in the cooling system of the Ford Kuga 1.6 EcoBoost model – which was manufactured in Spain specifically for South Africa – was the cause of the fires, News24 reported.
According to a statement issued by the National Consumer Commission on Monday, if the vehicle suffered an engine compartment fire and the consumer has not yet been compensated for movable goods that were damaged during the incident, they have the option to either institute a claim in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, or to approach the courts at their own expense.
Customers choosing the first option will receive their settlement within three months, the Commission said.
Acting Commissioner Thezi Mabuza said the settlement brought the matter to a close and that the process was not trying to deprive consumers of available remedies in the law.
In December 2019, it was widely reported that the National Consumer Commission fined Ford some R35 million for the controversial Kuga fires, which saw several Ford Kuga vehicles going up in flames.
The defects first started making news headlines when Reshall Jimmy, whose death has been the subject of a High Court inquest, was found burnt to death in his car, a Ford Kuga.
* Compiled by Marelise van der Merwe