Another Kuga burns as recall 2.0 begins
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.