Saturday Star

Ford acknowledg­es poor response to Kuga debacle


FORD SA has finally apologised for its lack of communicat­ion to warn its customers about the risk to the Kuga 1.6 model, which could overheat and catch alight‚ despite knowing about many such cases.

Yesterday, the company announced that the total number of Kuga SUVs stood at 4 556.

Jeff Nemeth, Ford SA chief executive, acknowledg­ed that Kugas built between December 2012 and February 2014 with a 1.6-litre engine were susceptibl­e to overheatin­g because of improper coolant circulatio­n. This could cause a crack in a cylinder head and lead to engine fires.

Forty-five Kugas are known to have caught fire in the country.

“Whenever an incident raises concerns about one of our vehicles we treat it with the utmost seriousnes­s,” Nemeth said in the statement.

He apologised for a lack of communicat­ion at the outset of the spate of fires.

Renisha Jimmy has been leading a campaign to rally victims and their families after her brother died when his Kuga caught fire in December 2015.

“Contrary to what the CEO has now said, these people are not happy,” she said, adding that Kuga owners have come to her with stories of poor cus- tomer service and issues persisting even after safety checks.

“There have been hundreds of people who have called us and asked us to help them be- cause they don’t want these cars any more,” Jimmy said.

A class-action lawsuit is being planned, and about 100 additional Kuga owners would submit complaints to the National Consumer Commission on Monday, she said.

Ford SA is rolling out the recall in two stages, with the first including safety checks and replacing faulty parts.

“The next stage of the safety recall will improve the cooling system, making it even more robust and is likely to involve further changes to parts and warning systems,” the statement said.

While Ford SA could not give an exact number of vehicles that were brought back to dealership­s, the company did say it had loaned out 4 080 courtesy cars to affected customers.

Customers with concerns or question can call Ford SA on 086 001 1022 or email the company at

 ??  ?? This photo taken on January 12 captures Warren Krog’s 2013 Ford Kuga ablaze in Alberton.
This photo taken on January 12 captures Warren Krog’s 2013 Ford Kuga ablaze in Alberton.

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