Another safety recall for fiery Kugas
Ford South Africa on Wednesday invited owners of the 4‚556 Kugas affected by its safety recall to return their cars for Phase 2 of the modifications‚ which are designed to prevent them from catching fire - and this time the dealerships are said to be ready and waiting.
In mid-January‚ after almost 50 of the SUVs had caught fire‚ mostly on freeways‚ the US-based manufacturer hastily called a media conference to announce the recall of 1.6 models in South Africa in order to replace parts of the SUV’s coolant system‚ which was found to be the cause of the fires. Six months on‚ Phase 2 is about “additional precautions” - mainly the installation of a coolant level sensor which will flash up a beeping warning on the instrument panel when the coolant drops to a dangerous level.
Phase 1 only added to Ford’s PR disaster as it caught most Ford dealerships off-guard. Most didn't have the parts - coolant bottle and piping - in stock‚ nor enough courtesy cars to loan Kuga owners during the fire-safe fix.
Ford SA’s MD Casper Kruger‚ who took on the top job from April 1‚ told TimesLIVE he was confident that Phase 2 of the recall would be drama-free. The company‚ he said‚ had ensured that all dealerships had enough parts and loan vehicles on hand.
“That’s provided Kuga owners make an appointment to take their cars in. If they are going to just drop their cars off without warning‚ they may not have the best experience‚” he said.
The coolant level sensor and new hardware were produced by Ford’s global engineering team‚ and South Africa is the first market to get them‚ Kruger said.
“Changes will also made to the routing of the coolant pipe; an electrical harness will be fitted‚ along with an extra coolant pipe‚ and the software configured to monitor this new coolant level sensor.”
Since the January recall announcement‚ 88% of those 4‚556 affected Kuga owners have taken their vehicles in for Phase 1‚ Kruger said.
“Those who haven’t can now have both Phase 1 and 2 done at the same time.”
About 20% of those recalled Kugas - 900 vehicles - have since been traded in at Ford dealerships.
Meanwhile‚ response to the fire-related recall of 15‚600 Ford Figos and Ikons‚ announced by Ford SA a month ago‚ has been very slow‚ Kruger said. Only 13% of the affected cars - built in Ford’s Indian plant between August 9‚ 2004 and March 24‚ 2012 - have had the high pressure hose of their car’s power steering mechanism replaced.
• For information about either recall‚ contact Ford Customer Service on 0800 204 688 or email CRC3@ford.com