The car giant Ford has been forced to recall over 4500 Ford Kugas in South Africa after various incidents of them catching fire were registered, beginning in 2015.
Ford SA chief executive Jeff Nemeth said that when the fires were investigated it was shown that there was overheating in some parts of the engine of the Ford Kugas, which resulted in oil leaks. For this reason, the company is recalling them for safety checks.
The pressure became heavy on Ford after motorist Reshall Jimmy, 33, burnt to death in his Kuga in 2015. To date, 48 Ford Kugas have caught fire in South Africa with the local TimesLive newspaper reporting that 11 of those happened this month. South Africa’s motor industry ombudsman Johan van Vreden called on Ford to act immediately. The newspaper quoted him saying;
“One or two vehicles in the same model range catching fire is not unusual‚ but almost 50… it’s crazy‚ especially in a small market like ours.”
Jeff Nemeth confirmed 39 incidents of the Kuga catching on fire but admitted that there could be other cases which were not reported to the firm. To that end, he said that he was understanding of the concerns posed by people who still owned the vehicles and said that the firm would “work with dealers to ensure each case is treated fairly”.
He also spoke about the death of Reshall Jimmy, saying that their investigations into the case had not been concluded but that his vehicle burning seemed unrelated to the usual case of engines catching fire.
Offering condolences to the members of Jimmy’s family who are said to be planning legal action against the car giant for a “very senseless death”, Nemeth said:
“We are not aware of any injuries that have resulted from our engine compartment fires.”
The vehicles which have been recalled are to be subjected to a software update and a check on the cylinder head.