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Ford SA apologises for delayed Kuga fire response as report of blaze in Aus emerges


Ford Australia has reportedly launched an investigation following reports of a suspected engine fire that destroyed a Kuga fitted with the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine in the state of Queensland last week.

According to Aussie online platform,, the incident comes not long after a woman and her young nephew in New Zealand managed to escape injury after the Kuga they were travelling in caught fire mere days after being serviced.

"Although the base engine is similar, there can be differences that cause the engines to perform differently including engine installation, transmission systems, cooling systems, under-hood airflow, calibrations, and emissions among others. If customers have a specific concern with their vehicle, they should take their vehicle to a dealer for investigation," Ford Australia was quoted as saying in a statement.

Last month, Ford South Africa announced the recall of 4 556 Kugas, build between December 2012 and February 2014 at its Almussafes Plant in Valencia, Spain, fitted with the EcoBoost engine, after postings on social media showing vehicles going up in flames went viral.

The automaker later attributed the fires, which allegedly caused the destruction of 48 Kugas, to be the result of inadequate cooling, causing the engine to overheat and ultimately leading to the cylinder head cracking and oil to come out.

Outrage has however continued to mount at Ford's apparent slow response towards the fires, with many owners also expressing fury at low resale values and being turned away from dealerships when bringing their recalled Kugas in to be checked.

Speaking in a subsequent statement, Ford Motor Company South Africa President and CEO, Jeff Nemeth, said the automaker has been working around the clock to carry out repairs, and that it can only "sincerely apologise" for not reacting quick enough.

"The underlying cause of these fires was difficult to diagnose and took careful examination. We understand and appreciate the feelings of our customers and other stakeholders, and we want to assure you that your safety is our priority," Nemeth said.

"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".

He however again reiterated that the ensuing fires had not resulted in the loss of any life despite allegations by the family of Reshell Jimmy, who died after his Kuga caught fire in December 2015. The family has since opened a class action lawsuit against Ford.

Nemeth has reiterated that the affected Kugas are safe to drive with the repairs carried out and the cooling system carefully looked after, saying, "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".


New Zeland Ford Kuga fire

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Submitted: 05-02-2017