FORD South Africa says all vehicles are “susceptible to issues” despite the company reporting no major cases on Ford Kuga 1,6-litre engine models.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Last month, Ford South Africa recalled some Ford Kuga 1,6-litre engine models due to lack of coolant circulation.
This comes as Duly’s Holdings Limited sold 12 Ford Kuga 1,6-litre engine vehicles on the local market in 2016.
The local company has declined to comment on the safety of the vehicles.
In a statement on Friday, Ford South Africa confirmed that though there had been no incidents since the safety recall last month, all vehicles were susceptible to issues.
“While Ford manufactures cars with the safety of their customers’ top-of-mind, all vehicles are occasionally susceptible to issues in the design and manufacturing process that can lead to performance and quality issues under certain conditions,” Ford South Africa said.
“In such instances, Ford must determine what steps to take, including initiating a recall. This is driven by a case-by-case analysis.”
Earlier, the company’s product communications manager, Minesh Bhagaloo, had told NewsDay in an emailed response that there “are no Kuga vehicles in Zimbabwe affected by this safety recall”.
The default in the Ford Kuga 1,6-litre model had to deal with a lack of coolant circulation, which led to a cracking in the cylinder head and, therefore, an oil leak.
This led to the affected vehicles catching fire.
As a result, Ford South Africa recalled 4 556 model year 2013 and 2014 Ford 1,6-litre Kugas, built between December 2012 and February 2014.
“The underlying cause of these fires was difficult to diagnose and took careful examination. Importantly, the cracked cylinder heads and fires that have been caused by this issue, while damaging the vehicles, have not led to any fatalities or any injuries,” president and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, Jeff Nemeth, said.
“We understand that our customers have questions and concerns. Our current focus is on working with our dealers and our customers to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, through open and direct communication.”
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa supplies dealerships with the Ford brand in the region.
As part of their strategy in handling the vehicles, Ford South Africa are providing each Ford Kuga 1,6-litre customers with a letter confirming that the necessary repair has been made on their vehicle “for additional peace of mind”.
With Duly’s Holding’s not responding to questions from NewsDay since last month, the paper was unable to establish whether the 12 owners of the local Ford Kuga models had been given any such letter.
On the sidelines of a recent event, Industry and Commerce permanent secretary, Abigail Shonhiwa told NewsDay they had heard of the issue, but were yet to investigate it.
“My ministry heard about the issue, but we are still to investigate it,” she said.
The faulty vehicles have led to Ford South Africa meeting with the South Africa’s National Consumer Commission last week to update the regulatory body on the progress made on the 1,6-litre affected Kuga models affected by the recent safety recall.