20/12/2016 20:03 SAST | Updated 18/01/2017 14:10 SAST

Ford To Conduct Safety Inspection On Kuga

Motor giant fired up to do checks after two vehicles reportedly caught alight on the roads.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters
It's the Kuga crisis, with an investigation underway into engine overheating incidents.

Those Kugas are ready for anything — including a fast safety trip to the nearest dealer.

Ford South Africa will conduct safety inspections on all Kuga utility vehicles following incidents in which Kugas have caught fire.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) said that following a meeting with Ford SA last week, the company undertook to conduct safety inspections on all Kuga utility vehicles that have been sold in the country.

"The inspections will form part of precautionary measures instituted at the behest of the NCC after serious allegations of engine overheating on the Kuga vehicle surfaced in the media in recent weeks," NCC spokesperson Trevor Hattingh said in a joint statement.

The two organisations met on December 14, with NCC deputy commissioner Thezi Mabuza chairing the meeting. Ford made representations including on its two separate investigations.

TimesLive reported that Ford was facing a backlash from consumers following the death of a man as a result of the fire.

Kaveen Jimmy, whose brother Reshall burned to death last December when his 2014 Ford Kuga caught alight, wants the car manufacturing giant to take responsibility and recall that specific model, the publication reported.

Another Kuga caught fire over the weekend in Durban. IOL reported that a Durban man was lucky to be alive after he managed to escape unhurt when his Ford Kuga burst into flames while he was driving at the weekend.

Nivesh Sewpersadh said he had been driving in Westville North on Saturday when the 2014 model Ford Kuga caught alight.

Sewpersadh told IOL he was left "very traumatised", especially after he was assured by technicians just three days before the incident that the vehicle was safe to drive.

The current generation of Kugas sell from about R375 000 in South Africa.

Hattingh said the company will expedite its investigation into engine overheating incidents and will report back to the NCC with its findings by end of February 2017.

"An initial meeting which was scheduled for Monday 12 December 2016 was postponed to Wednesday to allow executives and technical experts from Ford to travel respectively from Europe and the United States of America to voluntarily appear before the NCC. Ford has undertaken to alert all Kuga owners to take their vehicles to a nearby Ford workshop or dealership for a free safety inspection. The company has urged consumers with related concerns to contact its customer service helpline on 0860 011 022 for advice or assistance," he said.