06/02/2017 15:18 SAST | Updated 06/02/2017 15:18 SAST

Ford Kuga Sales Are Way Down After The Engine-Fire Induced Recall

The manufacturer recorded a big slump in sales in January, compared to the same period last year.

Andy Radukov / Bloomberg / Getty Images
A female worker does a quality control inspection of a Ford Kuga at the Ford Sollers production plant in Elabuga, Russia, on Thursday, September 3, 2015.

Having sold 281 Ford Kuga models in January 2016, this year the car company only managed 74 for the corresponding period. This follows Ford's December decision to recall the 4,566 Kuga 1.6-litre models sold in South Africa, after multiple customer complaints of the engine bursting into flames.

"This is a considerable slump over the 146 units sold in December, with sales of the model much lower than the 281 units sold in January last year," reported Business Report.

However, the company claimed via its spokesperson Alisea Chetty that December sales "remained resilient", in spite of the scandal. it reported that its sales were 1.7 percent higher than December 2015.

The Jimmy family is bringing a class action lawsuit against the company after Reshall Jimmy died in a burning Kuga last year.

Ford took out full page advertisements in the Sunday Times and City Press, apologising for the scandal.

"Safety is our top priority and whenever an incident, like the recent events surrounding the Ford Kuga, raises concerns about one of our vehicles, we treat it with the utmost seriousness," said Ford Southern Africa CEO and president Jeff Nemeth.

"We recognise that during this process we have not done a good enough job in keeping our customers and the public informed about the Ford Kuga situation and what we have been doing to fix it — for that we apologise unreservedly."

Ford's latest scramble to save its brand does not seem to have had an effect. The recall happened only after dozens of incidents, and Youtube had been filled with amateur videos of burning cars. It wasn't exactly brilliant PR for a company that claims that safety is a top priority.