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Reports Of Fire Cases On Different Models Spells Further Disaster For Ford

The National Consumer Commission has received complaints about the 1.5- and 2.5-litre engines also being problematic.

20/01/2017 08:12 SAST | Updated 20/01/2017 14:06 SAST
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The Kuga, manufactured by Ford Motors Co. (Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

It never rains but pours, some say, and that's proving true for Ford. The National Consumer Commission (NCC) confirmed that complaints about other Ford Kuga engines were submitted to its office following the recent recall.

"The engine capacity is not only the 1.6 Ecoboost. We are also receiving complaints of the 1.5- and 2.5-litre engines catching fire. The other complaint we received was a 2015 model that burst into flames," said NCC spokesperson Trevor Hattingh.

Hattingh confirmed investigators were going through the complaints lodged since Ford made the announcement that it was recalling the Ford Kuga 1.6 Ecoboost engine built in Spain between 2012 and 2014 with problems.

The company was adamant that all other models were safe and only those part of the recall had problems. The Kugas was thrown into the spotlight when Reshall Jimmy died as a result of the car catching fire in December of 2015. Since that incident, at least 39 other cases have been reported.

"The engine capacity is not only the 1.6 Ecoboost. We are also receiving complaints of the 1.5 and 2.5-litre engines catching fire. The other complaint we received was a 2015 model that burst into flames," Hattingh

Those cases have helped their struggle as the family has been engaged in a fierce battle with the car manufacturer to take responsibility for the fire and to recall the cars. That fight subsequently paid off with Ford on Monday announcing the recall of 4,556 cars for repairs.

With the new cases having been reported, the car manufacturer might be in for even more turbulent time as the NCC will be taking a deeper look into some its vehicles.

"The cases are being assessed and a decision on enforcement action will be applied. Depending on the merits of the cases, investigators will decide on whether or not a full on investigation is launched to determine if perhaps we need to extend the recall to other models. That action can only be taken once all the information has been collected," he said.

In what could be described as Ford's way of tackling this matter since its inception, the company has taken the route of sticking its head in the sand and saying there is nothing wrong with the other engines despite people claiming they have alerted the company to the problems.

The Times recently reported that Malehotlo Makgamatha said her new 1.5l EcoBoost caught fire last year. The fire investigation report indicated that the fire was as a result of the incorrect installation of a spotlight bulb, which caused the spotlight housing to melt and ignite.

"For a year Ford has refused to help me. I pleaded with them for help after the recall was announced. Today they agreed but were reluctant because it's not the 1.6l EcoBoost. I drive with bricks in my car just in case it catches fire so I can get my children and myself out," said Makgamatha."

"The cases are being assessed and a decision on enforcement action will be applied. Depending on the merits of the cases, investigators will decide on whether or not a full on investigation is launched to determine if perhaps we need to extend the recall to other models. That action can only be taken once all the information has been collected,"Hattingh

Daniel Joubert from Nelspruit was quoted in the publication that his 2013 2.5l Kuga caught fire early in 2015. He made a statement to the NCC and said his car burnt three days after collecting it from a Ford dealership where he had taken it to have problems sorted out.

"It burnt out within 10 minutes. I contacted Ford and was told that they do not feel it needed to be investigated ... as my insurance paid out, I should be happy."

In a response to a media inquiry consisting of five questions by the HuffPost SA trying to understand when the company realised that the cooling system was problematic, the Ford media team elected not to respond to all the questions but only say that they constantly have running changes to their vehicles, and this was the case with the cooling system.

"Ford Kuga models with 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre engines are not affected. Once we receive the information we will investigate."

The recent problems faced by Ford have seen South Africans being cautious about the brand while others make fun of the misfortune. A Johannesburg resident has told HuffPost SA that he recently refused to get into an Uber when he realised it was a Ford.

Edwin Mbungua said he has followed the Ford fiasco on the news and that has made him uneasy.

"I ordered an Uber after work but when I saw that it was a Ford vehicle I cancelled it and said I would get another one. Unless the company comes clean about everything then I will avoid using Fords. The entire thing has made me take notice of Fords on the road," he said.

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