The South African National Consumer Commission says that it has given Ford Motors South Africa until the end of February to complete an investigation into the spate of Ford Kugas that have burst into flames over the past few weeks.
Nine Ford Kuga’s have burst into flames since the start of 2017 – the latest happening while the driver was taking the car to a dealer in Alberton – making the total number of Kuga’s that have faced the same fate 45, since 2015.
Speaking to Radio 702, commission spokesperson Trevor Hattingh said that it has been in discussion with Ford over the matter, and on top the February deadline has ordered the company to put ‘mitigating measures’ in place.
Hattingh said that, in terms of South Africa law, the commission can institute its own recall if there are reasonable grounds to do so – and having 45 cars burst into flames is more than enough reason.
“We are meeting next week as a regulatory group, and after that meeting we are going to make a decision on a way forward because it seems the mitigation measures they (Ford) have in place are not enough,” he said.
Ford South Africa has faced criticism from car owners for apparently dragging their feet on the issue of their Kugas bursting into flames.
The company said that it could not issue a recall until it fully understood the nature of the problem, and has controversially gone to the courts to get evidence of a Kuga explosion that killed a man in 2015, to aid in its investigation.
However, the man’s family has slammed the company saying that they had offered the evidence to Ford months before, and the company simply never took them up on the offer.
Ford has since urged owners of the Kuga vehicles to take the cars to their local dealerships to check for any potential problems.
According to Cars.com, the Kuga, which sells as the Ford Escape in the United States, has faced a number of recalls related to problems that could lead to increasing risk of fire. In 2016, Ford issued a recall in the States for 2010-2012 Ford Escapes over fuel line issues.
While these recalls do not relate to the local market, they could point to similar problems in models produced for the South African market.