Ford hit with R35 million fine after Kuga fires

The Ford Motor Company has agreed to pay a R35 million fine and settlement fees to consumers who were impacted by its Kuga 1.6 Ecoboost vehicle fires.

In a presentation on Friday (29 November), the National Consumer Commission (NCC) said it had concluded settlement negotiations with the car company after Ford took responsibility for the damages.

NCC acting commissioner Thezi Mbuza said that the NCC’s investigation showed that an estimated 46 Ford Kugas caught fire.

She added that the commission has ordered the Ford Motor Company to pay an administrative fine of R35 million with consumers able to elect from a R50,000 settlement, mediation, or their own civil action as possible remedies.

“The Ford Motor Company of South Africa engaged in prohibited conduct by distributing Kuga vehicles that failed, or could have failed, as a result of a cooling system failure.

“The failing of the cooling system rendered the vehicles unsuitable for general purpose and this resulted in the vehicles being unsafe at the time of the fires.”

Ford faced heavy criticism over the course of December 2016 and January 2017 after a number of Ford Kuga’s caught fire in those two months.

This resulted in a class-action lawsuit against the company, with documents alleging that Ford knew about existing problems with Kuga models.

Despite the significant backlash, Fords overall sales weren’t heavily impacted.

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Ford hit with R35 million fine after Kuga fires