Ford Kuga catches fire in Ekurhu­leni

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - KHANY­ISILE NGCOBO khany­isile.ngcobo@inl.co.za

AN­OTHER Ford Kuga has gone up in flames de­spite the man­u­fac­turer re­call­ing thou­sands of these ve­hi­cles and deal­ing with law­suit threats.

Ford SA con­firmed it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the lat­est in­ci­dent in Ekurhu­leni when a Kuga caught fire on the N12 east in Boks­burg on Mon­day.

Ekurhu­leni dis­as­ter and emer­gency man­age­ment ser­vices spokesper­son Wil­liam Nt­ladi said they re­ceived a call that a Ford Kuga had caught fire near the N12 east Jet Park off-ramp.

“We re­ceived the call at around 8.45am and upon ar­rival, our mem­bers found the ve­hi­cle al­ready alight. The owner, who was alone at the time, said he was driv­ing when he sud­denly saw fire com­ing out of the en­gine,” Nt­ladi said.

The owner was able to get out of the ve­hi­cle and es­caped un­harmed.

Nt­ladi said they man­aged to ex­tin­guish the fire be­fore hand­ing the scene over to the Ekurhu­leni metro po­lice for in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Metro po­lice spokesper­son Ko­beli Mokhe­seng said of­fi­cers se­cured the area while fire­men ex­tin­guished the blaze. “The owner ar­ranged to have the ve­hi­cle, which was par­tially burnt, towed to al­low the re­open­ing of the high­way.”

Ford SA spokesper­son Mi­nesh Bha­ga­loo said they were look­ing into the in­ci­dent.

“We be­came aware of it through so­cial me­dia and are we cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing what ex­actly hap­pened.”

He was un­able to con­firm the model that was af­fected, as the mat­ter had just been brought to their at­ten­tion, but added that all pro­to­col was being fol­lowed to re­cover the ve­hi­cle and in­ves­ti­gate the cause of the fire.

Bha­ga­loo fur­ther urged own­ers whose ve­hi­cles were first men­tioned in the re­call to take them in for a phase two check-up.

Hardly a week ago, the car-maker an­nounced that it was ini­ti­at­ing phase two of the re­call ac­tion in­volv­ing its faulty Kuga 1.6 mod­els.

“Ford Mo­tor Com­pany South­ern Africa (FMCSA) has com­menced with phase 2 of the safety re­call ac­tion for all af­fected Kuga 1.6 mod­els and is re­quest­ing cus­tomers to sched­ule an ap­point­ment with their dealer to have the ve­hi­cle enhancements com­pleted.

“This sec­ond phase is de­signed to mit­i­gate the risk of an en­gine fire re­sult­ing from a cracked cylin­der head caused by a loss of coolant, and ap­plies to all af­fected Kuga 1.6 mod­els built at the Va­len­cia As­sem­bly Plant in Spain be­tween May 2012 and Sep­tem­ber 27, 2014,” Ford said at the time.

Ford first an­nounced its re­call cam­paign in Jan­uary amid con­tro­versy sur­round­ing more than 40 re­ported en­gine fires on this make of ve­hi­cle.

After Ford had de­ter­mined that the fires were caused by en­gine over­heat­ing and con­se­quent oil leak­ing from cracked cylin­der heads, the first phase of the re­call in­volved re­plac­ing var­i­ous cool­ing sys­tem com­po­nents, up­dat­ing soft­ware and con­duct­ing an oil leak check on the cylin­der head.

In Jan­uary, lawyer Rod Mon­tano was quoted in the news as say­ing he had handed in 31 for­mal claims for a class ac­tion law­suit against the man­u­fac­turer.

Af­fected Ford Kuga driv­ers united to file the class ac­tion law­suit after the death of Re­shall Jimmy when his car caught fire.

The car com­pany, how­ever, said Jimmy’s case was being in­ves­ti­gated sep­a­rately be­cause the cause of the fire was still to be estab­lished.

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