Pretoria — The President and CEO of Ford Motor Company Southern Africa, Jeff Nemeth, has announced a voluntary safety recall for certain Ford Kuga utility vehicles.
The safety recall is limited to the Kuga 1.6-litre model built between December 2012 and February 2014.
The recall of the Ford Kuga 1.6-litre comes after several reports of vehicles that have caught fire and one which resulted in the death of a man.
"We are now announcing a voluntary safety recall for the affected Ford Kuga 1.6. Our investigation has enabled us to narrow the number ... to a total of 4 556 affected vehicles," Nemeth said.
Speaking on Monday during a media briefing in Pretoria, Nemeth told reporters that a total of 39 incidents have been reported to Ford.
"With this safety recall, all affected vehicles, including those that have already been checked as part of our maintenance check, must be taken to a Ford dealer as soon as possible," he said.
Two stages to recall
According to Nemeth, the safety recall comprises of two stages.
The first stage involves replacing affected components on the cooling system, verifying and updating the software as well as conducting an oil leak check on the cylinder.
"If any Kuga 1.6 owner sees any indication that the engine may be overheating or experiences warnings on the instrument plaster they should pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, switch off the engine and ensure that all occupants are safely out the vehicle. For safety reasons the bonnet must not be opened," Nemeth said.
The second stage of the safety recall will make the cooling system even more robust and is likely to involve further changes and parts on the warning systems.
"We are currently ensuring that the changes we make are complete and thoroughly tested and we will communicate with our customers as soon as this stage commences," he said.
Customers have been warned that there may be instances where dealers may not be able to complete repairing vehicles due to the increased volume of vehicles which could cause a shortage of parts.
"Should there be any delay in fixing the Kuga 1.6-litres, owners will receive a courtesy car. Together with our dealers we are working to streamline our processes to ensure minimal inconvenience to our customers.
"I want to stress that with the safety action and with the proper maintenance of the cooling system, the Kuga 1.6 is safe to drive," Nemeth said.
Commissioner of the National Consumer Commission (NCC) Ebrahim Mohamed said the NCC has granted Ford an opportunity to conduct an investigation to find the actual cause of fire on these vehicles to enable them to repair or replace the faulty components to restore value and quality of the vehicles in line with relevant prescripts of the law.
"It is quite regrettable that a life [was] lost and that other consumers and the public at large had to be exposed to a hazard that we never would've expected from one of our most prized possessions, that being a car.
"There is no monetary value that can truly compensate for the loss of a life or permanent injury to a human being, and the NCC believes that recalling this vehicle is in the best interest of all consumers," Mohamed said.