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Check for details

Ford still dodging burning issue of a Kuga recall

The video clip posted on Facebook by Maria Daniels of Port Elizabeth at the weekend of her Ford Kuga on fire was more alarming than all the other burning Kuga videos and photos on social media.

That’s because she’d responded to Ford SA’s request that all owners of 1.6-litre Kugas built between December 15‚ 2012‚ and October 20‚ 2014‚ take their vehicles to a Ford dealer for a “safety check” of the coolant system‚ to avoid engine overheating.

But Ford SA claims the check wasn’t done properly.

Daniels bought the used vehicle on December 9 from a Ford dealership‚ and when it failed to start a few weeks later‚ she contacted the dealership‚ which replaced the faulty battery.

She asked that the announced safety check be done on the same day – December 29.

“They returned my car a few hours later‚ assuring me that everything was fine and that it was only the battery that was faulty‚” Daniels posted on Facebook.

But two days later‚ on New Year’s Eve‚ as she was driving the Kuga‚ a fire started in the engine compartment.

“Everybody managed to get out of the car just in time‚” she wrote.

“We are all traumatised‚ struggling to sleep‚ emotionally and psychologically scarred.”

Two other Kuga fires have been reported in the past week.

ConsumerLIVE put it to Ford SA that Daniels’ experience suggested that either the safety check was not carried out properly‚ or that something else‚ unrelated to the coolant system‚ caused the fire.

“Either way‚ the 6300 affected Kuga owners’ confidence in the check will now understandably be severely dented.

“In light on ongoing reports of Kuga fires‚ and the very real danger this poses to Kuga owners‚ is it not time that Ford comes to the conclusion that the ‘available data’ does indeed indicate that action is needed‚ and fast action at that‚ with regard to a safety recall?”

Responding‚ Ford SA spokesman Minesh Bhagaloo said it appeared that the car was checked for a fault code‚ which was “addressed”.

“But it does not appear that it received the maintenance check. We are continuing to investigate with the dealer.”

Ford SA has provided Daniels with a loan vehicle in the meantime.

Asked how many of the 6300 owners of affected Kugas had responded to Ford SA’s safety check announcement via e-mail‚ SMS and social media since December 22‚ Bhagaloo said: “It is still early days on the maintenance action‚ particularly given the seasonal holiday‚ so we aren’t able to give you a number of vehicles that have been checked at this stage.”

There was no comment about the burning issue – a safety recall.

Kaveen Jimmy‚ whose brother Reshall burnt to death in his 1.6-litre Ford Kuga while holidaying in Wilderness last December – and is campaigning with his sister Renisha for justice via a Facebook page “Ford Vehicles Burning” – said they had documented 42 Kuga fires to date.

“Ford SA continues to say that will act swiftly if a recall is necessary‚” he said.

“What are they waiting for – another loss of life?”

– TMG Digital

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