Ford ac­cepts Kuga li­a­bil­ity


The Citizen (KZN) - - Motoring - Own Cor­re­spon­dent

Had to re­call 4 556 1.6 EcoBoost units be­cause of faulty cool­ing sys­tems.

The Na­tional Con­sumer Com­mis­sion (NCC) last week con­firmed a set­tle­ment had been reached with Ford Mo­tor Com­pany South­ern Africa (FMCSA) re­gard­ing compensati­on for vic­tims of the Kuga fire de­ba­cle.

NCC com­mis­sioner Thezi Mabuza said the Detroit-based car maker had agreed to pay a set­tle­ment fine of R35 mil­lion af­ter admitting re­spon­si­bil­ity for the fires, blamed on a faulty cool­ing sys­tem. A to­tal of 4 556 Kuga 1.6 Eco­Boosts in Jan­uary 2017 were re­called af­ter pictures and videos of burn­ing ve­hi­cles went vi­ral on­line. It has been re­ported that there were “at least 39” of these cases.

Ford of­fered three compensati­on op­tions to con­sumers, the first a cash­back of R50 000 to own­ers of Ku­gas that went up in flames, which, if taken, would also serve as a fi­nal set­tle­ment against all claims brought up as a re­sult of the fires.

The sec­ond op­tion would en­tail con­sumers want­ing more than the pro­vided compensati­on to sub­mit a claim against the FMCSA

in terms of Sec­tion 61 of the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act, with state ad­vo­cate Terry Mo­tau set to rep­re­sent ap­pli­cants.

While the FMCSA has agreed to carry some of Mo­tau’s costs, the NCC has stated that ap­pli­cants wish­ing to use their own lawyers would be li­able for the full costs.

Con­sumers not opt­ing for any of the men­tioned set­tle­ments would be left with the third and fi­nal op­tion, which in­volves the case be­ing taken to court to prove fur­ther dam­ages.

In a state­ment, re­leased in July 2017, Ford stated that it im­ple­mented Phase II of re­pairs to all EcoBoost pow­ered Ku­gas, which in­cluded the fit­ting of a new coolant ex­pan­sion tank with mon­i­tor­ing soft­ware and warn­ing in­di­ca­tors, soft­ware that re­duces power when dropped coolant lev­els are de­tected and new cool­ing pipes that are also rerouted from the orig­i­nal de­sign.

The Phase II re­pairs came just over five months af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of a six year or 200 000km Premi­umCare Ex­tended Plan on, not only the 1.6 Ku­gas, but also the 1.5 EcoBoost en­gine that re­placed it, as well as the 2.0 TDCI en­gine, and even the 2.5-litre tur­bocharged five-cylin­der from the first gen­er­a­tion model, de­spite these not hav­ing been ef­fected by any blazes.

BLAZ­ING ROW. Ford re­called 4 556 Ku­gas in 2017 af­ter at least 39 of these SUVs caught fire.

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