Ford accepts Kuga liability
PAYOUT: AGREES TO R35M SETTLEMENT, OF R50 000 EACH, WITH THE CONSUMER COMMISSION
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.