Victim of combusting Ford Kuga had narrow escape
Alberton man angry with how company has handled controversy
THE LATEST victim of the combusting Ford Kuga debacle has recounted the moments leading up to his close shave with death yesterday morning.
Alberton resident Warren Krog was driving on the Voortrekker on-ramp to his suburb from the N12 when he saw thick smoke coming from the rear of his car.
He is the latest victim of a series of incidents where motorists have seen their same 2013 vehicle model go up in flames.
Reshall Jimmy was one such motorist who burnt to death after his car exploded in 2015 in the Western Cape.
Detailing his own ordeal, Krog said: “I noticed smoke coming out and thought about the other Kuga fires reported.
“I pulled over and jumped out of my car, and there was already a fire. I then grabbed my personal belongings – wallet, laptop, house key – and ran away from the car,” he said.
Krog flagged a passing police officer for assistance.
“She stopped but she didn’t have a fire extinguisher. Some people driving towards Alberton also stopped but no one had an extinguisher. The cop then called the fire department,” he said.
The fire department got to the scene 15 minutes later.
“I heard about the stories from my mom because she has been following the story.
“I received an SMS from Ford in December, around the 23rd, saying ‘You need bring in your car for a checkup’, and they gave an email address that I needed to mail.
“I mailed that address but never got a response. I tried to call the 0800 number but it just cut off – nobody answered. When I got back to work on January 3, I made contact with Ford Kempton Park.
“I asked how quickly I could bring in my car, but I was given the date of the 18th. I told them that cars were burning, and what if something happens to my car; what if it catches alight and burns my house while I’m sleeping?’,” he said.
Krog added he was then asked to check the car’s coolant system and make sure it was not empty.
“They said if I checked that then I should be fine, but unfortunately this had not happened in this case,” he said.
Krog said he was very angry at how Ford SA had handled the matter.
“They don’t allow the reality of the situation to take control. They should have asked us to bring in the cars for a check immediately. This morning I was meant to take my daughter and friend to school, and this is what upsets me. If I was 5km away from the school, I would have carried on.
“A frightening thing I heard this morning is that if the car’s electronics burn, you are locked in the car – and I didn’t know this. I could have lost my life, my daughter’s and a friend’s life. It’s important for people to understand that once they start seeing smoke, they need to get out of the car. I was lucky to have opened my windows in time,” he said.
Ford has launched an investigation of engine fires in the Kuga models equipped with the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine, which is also being monitored by the National Consumer Commission. The car manufacturer has also offered an hour-long free checkup for owners of this model.
Ford SA spokesperson Minesh Bhagaloo said: “The standard process in place allows for customers to take their vehicles in at their earliest convenience for the check to be done. No dealer should ask a customer to bring the car in at a later stage. Should parts not be available, the customer will be put in a loan vehicle.”