Ford South Africa has recalled its 1.6 litre Ford Kuga model.
CEO Jeffrey Nemeth on Monday said the recall was limited to 1.6 litre models manufactured in Valencia, Spain, between December 2012 and February 2014. About 4 556 vehicles will be affected by the safety recall.
This comes after at least 47 Ford Kuga’s in South Africa caught alight and one person died after his Kuga caught alight.
Speaking at a joint media briefing with the National Consumer Commission (NCC), in Pretoria, Nemeth said that, to date, 39 incidents have been officially reported to Ford South Africa, although “there may be some incidents that have not yet been reported us. We are not aware of any injuries resulting from the fires.”
He said the cause of the fires was owing to the overheating of the engine, which could lead to a broken cylinder head and oil leak.
“If leaking oil reaches the hot engine component, it can cause a fire,” he explained.
Nemeth outlined that the recall would take place in two phases.
The first phase entails replacing affected cooling systems and performing an oil leak check on all cylinder heads, while the second phase will include making the cooling system more robust and involves changes in parts and warning systems.
He pointed out that all changes would be thoroughly tested.
“The recent fires that have affected the 1.6 litre Ford Kugas have been unfortunate and concerning for our customers and ourselves. At Ford, the safety of our customers is our number one priority. We understand the high level of concern and disappointment surrounding the issue,” he said.
“We think it is in the best interests of the public if this product is recalled from the South African market,” NCC Commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed said, adding that any product that places consumers in danger has no place in the market.
He stressed that no brand is bigger than the law and called on consumers to approach the NCC if they were concerned about any product.
“Consumers have a right to fair value, good quality and safety. This is clearly captured as a consumer right in this country. One unfortunate incident is one too many and this has dragged on for too long.
“This is not the end of the matter. If there are further incidents, the NCC will conduct further investigations,” Mohamed said.