UP IN FLAMES: Ford SA's woes continue as it recalls its Kuga SUVs in SA. Pictured here are the remains of reader Lindo Nthuli's Kuga. Image: Wheels24/ Lindo Nthuli
Cape Town - The National Consumer Commission has confirmed that Ford will recall thousands of its Kuga SUVs following reports of the SUVs bursting into flames on SA roads.
In December 2016, the automaker released a statement after a Kuga 1.6 EcoBoost SUV caught fire.
Ford SA notified owners that it was investigating reports of engine fires in that model and asked owners to take their vehicle to their dealer for a maintenance check.
Wheels24 reported earlier on Monday that an insurance claims specialist warned Ford South Africa about a fire problem with certain Kuga models after an investigator carried our a formal inquiry into two fires.
READ: Ford Kuga's fire woes go back to 2013 - Documents reveal
Wheels24 has been inundated with emails from gravely concerned Ford Kuga owners. Here's what they have to say:
Johan Kemp: Last year during May we also had a problem with our Kuga overheating.
The Kuga was towed to Ford N1 City. They found that the water pipe had burst, which led to the engine overheating. The Kuga was still under warranty, so ford replaced the the engine.
My main concern is the Kuga's value will be worth nothing.
Anotionette Naude: My Ford Kuga burned on August 22, 2016. No warning lights came on, saw smoke, stopped and opened the bonet and there were flames everywhere on engine. Ford said they will fix my car, but it's been four months without a car and I'm struggling to do my work. Ford said my warranty expired because the last service was done by an accredited workshop but not Ford.
I am still waiting for my insurance now to pay out the car. I bought the car in June 2013 from Nelspruit Ford, but live in Witbank. All services were done at Witbank Ford except 100 000km service, because my service plan was finished. I took out an extended warranty when I bought the car, which was according to me still. Had water reservoir replaced because it was cracked and battery was also replaced. My insurance said Ford must do a forensic test and Ford SA said they are not going to. I am a medical representative and could not work and had a huge loss of income, and received a final written warning because I was unable to do my work. I can not afford to buy another car before this is not done. Ford just don't care about their customers.
Johan Uys: Maybe Back to Basics before all the high technology? What does this exercise cost Ford in lost reputation in years, not money?
Charmaine Montanari: So a woman alone stuck on the Queen Elizabeth bridge, Jhb central. My Kuga temperature rose to 120degrees and the car switched off. I had an appointment for my car to be checked for the problems these cars are experiencing and I was turned away because they can not work on more than 40 cars at a time. I had confirmed appointment. Ford Fury William Nicol. Needless to say I called Ford roadside assist and was told they can't assist because my car is out of warranty. Thank you to FNB AA roadside assist for coming to my rescue and for sending ADT to stand with me.
Marcelle Van Vuuren: Concerning the Ford Kugas 1.6 which are catching fire, they were replaced by the 1.5 during 2015. So most of the 1.6’s which are catching fire are between 2 and 4 years old. Won’t the 1.5’s also start doing the same once they are 2 to 4 years old?
Fiona Pelman: My Kuga has been at my local dealer for a week now. Service department said they have no idea what's supposed to be checked. I also took the vehicle to Jeep to use as a trade. They offered me R160 000. This is ridiculous. Ford should just take the vehicles back and pay us out.
Clint Harker: So after hearing of the issues we got hold of ford in Bruma Jhb. They clearly do not take this risk seriously as they told us we could only bring the vehicle in in a weeks time. We said no way. So after much fuss we took it in on Saturday. We then get a call on Saturday morning saying that the water bottle is cracked and we cannot get vehicle back. So now we are without a vehicle.
Two issues with how this was handled: If lives are at risk do not tell clients to come back next week. Offer car hire courtesy vehicle when the f*** up is yours. Arrogance personified.
Lindo Ntuli: It was 21 November 2016 and I have driven for about 4km when I heard the “boom” sound coming from the back. I looked my mirrors to see what was happening and noticed smoked coming from the exhaust pipes. I immediately pulled off and by that time the smoke was coming in from the inside front of the car. I opened my door even before the car could stop completely because I just thought it was going to lock itself and I couldn’t get out.
I switched it off, unlocked the bonnet and jumped off. The car was full of smoke inside. I was scared but tried rushing to open the bonnet and the flames went up from the engine as can be seen from the pictures attached. Lucky for me the road was not so quiet as 2 other cars came and stopped to assist me when they saw my car on flames. As a result one of the guys got hurt from the plastics that were splashing around because of the fire. He got hurt while he was putting in the bonnet holder so they could put off the flames. Another lady ran with the bottle water and put out the flames. I just stood there, frozen, shocked, scared and puzzled of what was going on. I almost died!
After everything was settled, I phoned Stanger Auto which is our town Ford dealership and they advised me that I tow my car to them. I did just that. Upon our arrival, the workshop manager was shocked to see my car burnt like that such a way that he said “In my years of experience, it is my first time seeing something like this”! they looked at it, took down my details and details of what transpired and told me they will check and see what happened to my car.
After a week, they called me to say the engine overheated and it’s not WARRANTY. There is nothing they can do with my car but I have to see to it myself. I went crazy!! I am still in talks with Ford SA but almost 2 months later I am still without a car and Ford has not done anything to resolve my case.
I always thank God because what if the doors couldn’t open or I was travelling with my kids or no one came with water on time!?
Image: Lindo Ntuli