An­other Kuga burns as re­call 2.0 be­gins

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MO­TOR­ING STAFF

JUST as Ford South Africa an­nounced phase two of its safety re­call cam­paign, an­other Kuga has gone up in flames in Ekurhu­leni.

The in­ci­dent took place on Mon­day near the N12 east Jet Park off-ramp in Boks­burg, with the driver for­tu­nately es­cap­ing un­harmed.

The cri­sis has seen over 46 Ford Ku­gas with 1.6-litre turbo engines, built between May 2012 and Septem­ber 2014, catch­ing fire in South Africa in the past cou­ple of years.

Ford SA’s new man­ag­ing direc­tor Casper Kruger last week an­nounced the sec­ond phase of the re­call cam­paign, fol­low­ing the ini­tial re­call in Jan­uary. 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.

The sec­ond phase takes fur­ther pre­cau­tions in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of a low-coolant-level warn­ing sen­sor. The sys­tem will also be able to cut power through a new ‘limp mode’ if it de­tects that coolant lev­els drop be­low the min­i­mum re­quired level.

“The sys­tem will now warn the driver well in ad­vance if there is a risk of over­heat­ing due to in­suf­fi­cient coolant in the sys­tem,” Ford’s state­ment said.

Given the large num­ber of ve­hi­cles in­volved (4556 at last count), Ford has urged cus­tomers to book an ap­point­ment with their deal­ers rather than just show up with their ve­hi­cles.

The fix is likely to take around five hours and Ford says its deal­ers will pre-ar­range al­ter­na­tive trans­port for cus­tomers when re­quested. This could in­clude the pro­vi­sion of a cour­tesy car where nec­es­sary, such as in in­stances where the ve­hi­cle needs to stay overnight.

Ear­lier this year, Ford also an­nounced a war­ranty ex­ten­sion to six years or 200 000km for its Kuga mod­els.

But will this, and the re­call action, be enough to fix the rep­u­ta­tional dam­age that the com­pany has faced as a re­sult of the fires and its de­layed re­ac­tion to the saga? Time will tell.

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