PRETORIA, South Africa, February 3, 2017 – Ford South Africa met with the National Consumer Commission (NCC) this week to update it on the progress made on the 1.6-litre engine Kugas affected by the recent safety recall.
“We know that the incidents of engine compartment fires in Ford Kuga 1.6-litre vehicles in South Africa have created concerns for Kuga owners and for the general public. We understand and appreciate the feelings of our customers and other stakeholders, and we want to assure you that your safety is our priority. Whenever an incident raises concerns about one of our vehicles we treat it with the utmost seriousness,” said Jeff Nemeth, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.
Nemeth continued: “We recognise that, during the initial process, customers and the public were not well enough informed about the situation, and for that Ford sincerely apologises. We care about the safety and well-being of our customers. It’s at the heart of everything we do, and we understand that our customers have questions and concerns. Our current focus is on working with our dealers and our customers to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, through open and direct communication.”
A total of 4,556 the model year 2013 and 2014 Ford 1.6 Kugas, built between December 2012 and February 2014, are affected by the safety recall in South Africa.
Ford’s safety recall comprises two stages. The first stage involves replacing affected components on the cooling system, verifying and updating the software, and conducting an oil leak check on the cylinder head. The Ford Kuga is safe to drive, provided that the integrity of the cooling system is maintained, and this safety recall has been actioned.
- We’ve increased the capacity of our call centre, adding a dedicated Kuga support team, with longer hours and weekend support.
- We’re talking directly to our customers. Since the launch of the maintenance check, we have contacted over 3,800 customers via e-mail and posted letters. We have also put a request in to get the outstanding customers detail from eNatis.
- We are flying in parts to alleviate the shortage. All outstanding parts will arrive in South Africa by mid-February.
- Courtesy vehicles are being provided to keep our customers mobile while their cars are being repaired. To date, Ford has supplied over 4,080 courtesy cars to affected 1.6 Kuga customers. This number excludes the number of dealer loaner and Ford South Africa’s company vehicles that were given to customers while their vehicles underwent the safety recall action.
- We expanded our current partnership with the AA for extended Ford Roadside Assistance for all Kuga 1.6 vehicles, including those out of the standard 3-year cover period, to ensure customer reassurance and peace-of-mind.
- We have introduced support programmes to assist our dealers in discussions with their customers.
- Dealers will also provide each Kuga 1.6 customer with a letter confirming that the necessary repair has been made on their vehicle, for additional peace of mind.
Ford can confirm that there have been no incidents reported since the launch of the safety recall on 16 January 2017.
While Ford manufactures cars with the safety of their customers top-of-mind, all vehicles are occasionally susceptible to issues in the design and manufacturing process that can lead to performance and quality issues under certain conditions. In such instances, Ford must determine what steps to take, including initiating a recall. This is driven by a case-by-case analysis.
The underlying cause of these fires was difficult to diagnose and took the careful examination. Importantly, the cracked cylinder heads and fires that have been caused by this issue, while damaging the vehicles, have not led to any fatalities or any injuries,” said Nemeth.
We encourage customers to raise any questions or concerns directly through Ford Customer Service at 0860 011 022 or e-mail CRC3@ford.com, so that they may be addressed as quickly as possible.
The next stage of the safety recall will improve the cooling system, making it even more robust, and is likely to involve further changes to parts and warning systems. Ford is ensuring that the changes to be made are complete and thoroughly tested, and will communicate with customers as soon as this stage begins.
“I want to stress that with the first stage of the safety recall completed, and with proper maintenance of the coolant system, the 1.6 Kuga is safe to drive,” Nemeth added.
“We are committed to keeping our customers mobile. We are working closely with the authorities and our dealers to ensure full compliance with all requirements, while everyone at the organisation is dedicated to resolving each and every one of our customers’ concerns. We will continue to update our customers on progress with regular communications,” concluded Nemeth.
Note to Editor:
- If any Kuga 1.6 owner sees any indication that the engine may be overheating or experiences warnings on the instrument cluster, they should pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, switch off the engine and ensure all occupants are safely out of the vehicle. For safety reasons, the bonnet must not be opened.
- If required, the emergency services should be called first, then Ford’s Roadside Assistance on 0861 150 250. Supported through the AA, this service is available 24/7.
- Customers are advised to conduct regular inspection and maintenance of the cooling system – especially regarding maintaining the correct 50/50 water-coolant ratio for top-ups between services. With this safety action and proper maintenance of the engine coolant system, including using the approved coolant at the required concentration level, the vehicles are safe to drive.
- Should a customer experience any engine overheating problem with their 1.6 Kuga, or delays in the repair due to a shortage of parts, arrangements will be made through the nearest Ford dealer and Ford Customer Service to provide a courtesy car while the vehicle is repaired.
Ford Kuga 1.6 Timeline
Ford has determined that Kuga 1.6 litre vehicles built between December 2012 and February 2014 and sold in the South African market were potentially susceptible to overheating due to a lack of coolant circulation, which in some cases could cause an engine overheat with a resulting crack in the cylinder head.