Ford accused of ‘shopping’ for forensic reports after fatal Kuga fire

17 January 2017 - 13:48 By Graeme Hosken
Renisha, a sibling of Reshall Jimmy who died two years ago when his Ford Kuga caught fire, address the media at the National Press Club on 17 January 2017.
Renisha, a sibling of Reshall Jimmy who died two years ago when his Ford Kuga caught fire, address the media at the National Press Club on 17 January 2017.

In a damning accusation‚ forensic investigator David Klatzow has accused Ford of “shopping” for forensic reports to prove its case in the death of Reshall Jimmy.

Klatzow and the Jimmy family briefed the media on Tuesday‚ a day after the announcement by Ford of a recall of the motor manufacturer's 2012-2014 Kuga 1.6l EcoBoost. It involves more than 4500 vehicles.

Jimmy died in December 2015 while on holiday in the Wilderness‚ in the Western Cape.

  • WATCH: Harrowing footage emerges of Reshall Jimmy's final moments as his Ford Kuga burnsVideo footage of 33-year-old Reshall Jimmy's Ford Kuga burning has emerged for the first time.  

Since his death‚ a total of 48 Kugas have caught fire in South Africa‚ 11 of them this year.

Ford has launched an urgent high court application to obtain the police inquest docket and all the evidence it contains into Jimmy’s death.

  • 'No brand is above the law': How Ford dodged consumer commission's bulletCarmaker Ford had to be threatened with an ultimatum to make it take action - "Either you sort out your combusting Kuga SUVs or we will".

The company claims it needs the evidence to complete the investigation.

Both Klatzow and Jimmy's brother‚ Kaveen Jimmy‚ however‚ said that they had offered Ford the necessary documents to assist the company in its investigation.


Klatzow said that in Ford's first investigation‚ its investigator‚ a Mr Young‚ had agreed with police and private investigators that the fire had started behind the dashboard on the front passenger side of the car.

Ford maintains‚ through its other two forensic investigations‚ that the fire started at the rear of the car.

Klatzow said that they had requested Young's report and the car’s wiring diagrams in exchange for information they had.

  • Kuga recall bittersweet victory for the Jimmys"We have only just won the first leg of the battle with Ford."

“We discussed the information that we would share‚ but they never came back. Instead‚ they approached the courts to try force the handover of the evidence we have.

“On top of this‚ they have now gone around shopping for forensic reports to suit their case.”

Jimmy said they were alarmed at Ford's accusations that they had tried to frustrate the company's investigation.

  • 9 things you need to know about the Ford Kuga recallFord SA has announced that more than 4‚500 Ford Kugas are being recalled for compulsory safety checks after 48 of the family SUVs burst into flames in South Africa and a motorist died while trapped inside his burning vehicle.

“We received a letter from Ford… to stop lying to the media‚ but it is them who are frustrating the process.

“We of all people want this brought to a conclusion. Why would we delay the process?” he asked.

TMG Digital/The Times