ON-GOING SAGA: Ford South Africa is under investigation by the National Consumer Commission. Image: Supplied
Cape Town - Investigations by the National Consumer Commission (NCC) against Ford Motors are underway, to respond to allegations that consumer rights have been violated by Ford Motors, and the Commission is committed to solve this matter.
This was said by the NCC Commissioner, Ebrahim Mohamed. He was speaking during the status report session to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the recall of the Ford Kuga in Parliament, on Tuesday (March 7).
The National Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry is in talks with Ford South Africa to discuss the automaker's handling of its Kuga SUV recall. Earlier in 2016, the automaker issued a recall of its Kuga following reports of the popular SUVs catching fire in SA.
READ: Ford SA to parliament - 'We could have listened better to those customers'
A total of 4556 1.6-litre Ford Kugas, built from December 2012 to February 2014, are affected by the safety recall in South Africa. Ford SA says 63% of affected 1.6-litre Kuga SUVs have been repaired and returned to their owners.
According to Mohamed, 45 complaints from consumers who suffered losses as a result of cars that have combusted or were damaged as a result of the overheating, were received by the NCC by February 8, 2016. He added that the Commission was committed to address these complaints.
How do you think Ford handled the Kuga-saga matter? Tell us via email, Facebook and Twitter.
Mohamed said: "The complainants alleged that their rights had been violated, and the NCC had to deal with them as per its administrative process. A Screening Committee sitting was convened to look into this matter and a resolution was taken to recommend an investigation into Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, as there were allegations levelled against them which allege contraventions of certain provisions of the Consumer Protection Act."
He highlighted that issues raised in the complaints went beyond the scope of the product safety recall, and hence the need for an investigation.
The President and chief executive officer of Ford Motors, Jeff Nemeth, apologised to South African Ford customers. Nemeth said while Ford could not to change what happened, he can assure commitment to earn the trust of the South African customers. Nemeth also stated that the customers' safety was a top priority at Ford South Africa and elsewhere in the world.
Nemeth said: "Ford needs to gather reports and investigate incidents. The review had to be completed before the recall could be initiated to properly remedy the situation and to date, 4556 1.6-litre Kugas had been recalled and 3 200 Kugas checked.
"We seek to strike a careful balance swiftly implementing the recall with completing the necessary due diligence."
He also said an increase in engine compartment fires leading to maintenance check was initiated and more than 1 000 Kugas inspected giving valuable data. 73% of vehicles had been fixed or in process of being serviced.
READ: Ford SA makes a plan - 'Extended cover' for ALL Kuga SUVs
“Within the last two weeks we announced the Kuga Premium Care Plan, showing our appreciation to all our Kuga owners. This extension, which provides six years or two hundred thousand kilometres of full and total coverage, demonstrates our confidence in Kuga,” stressed Nemeth.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer of the NRCS, Edward Mamadise said there was no harm in conducting feasibility studies in order to explore the possibility of additional areas of regulation within the motor vehicle components and systems, going forward.
Readers respondG Roode: To be blunt, I am in a way glad the Kuga debacle happened to Ford. I don't say it out of spite, but experience: you don't learn through success but through failures. Ford made mistakes and they should use this opportunity to better themselves and I think they will.
It is the same aswhat happened to Toyota with its accelerator problems a couple years back and now recently the Mercedes-Benz overheating problems, where about 5000 C-class units in South Africa is affected.
To penalise Ford with a fine or people screaming for Fords blood, does not help. Life happens. The people who now complains that "their rights were violated" are pure opportunists who just want money out of the company. Why not demand from Ford for their vehicles to bereplaced by another Kuga OR another model of equal value?
Ford makes decent cars and I was never disappointed by them. So give them a bloody chance. Gert Naude:
Ford SA typically never answers any question, but persists in saying they care for the customer, which means nothing - it is a lie anyway, because they should have done the recall immediately if they really cared. Ford SA should give each Ford Kuga owner a free Ford to make amends. But it seems they care so little that they do not want to spend money on retaining customers.
I have never owned a Ford and never will, and tell everybody I know to stay away from this horrible motorcar brand.Praadeep Naidoo:
Ford response is a joke. They don't care about their customers. I have a Ford Fiesta that has blown 3 turbos in 9 months. They replaced the first 2 with no explanation as to why the turbos blew. Now they won't fix the problem because I have gone past the service interval. They have found a reason not to honour their warranty. They are nothing but a bunch of thieves.
Theuns G Strydom: "Listened better"....... not only does ford make deathtraps but they also try to kill English..... Ford has become a joke in South Africa.
Arrie de Goede: I'll never ever buy a Ford product. The people that kept them afloat are treated in this manner? Never.