Ford South Africa today announced that progress has been made with the implementation of the safety recall for the 1.6-litre Ford Kuga. More than 63% of the affected vehicles have already been repaired and returned to their owners, who can now enjoy ongoing peace of mind.
The company emphasized, however, that a number of the affected vehicles have not yet been brought in to Ford dealers across the country for the required repair. Ford urges all customers who haven’t yet participated in the recall to do so as a priority. Since the inception of the recall Ford has been providing complimentary courtesy cars to all affected customers to minimise the inconvenience to them and this process is still in place.
“Our dealers are working tirelessly replacing parts, testing and verifying the integrity of the cooling system, ensuring the latest software updates are applied and getting customers back into their vehicles,” said Jeff Nemeth, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.
“By Thursday, March 2, the safety recall action had been completed on almost 2,800 vehicles, with this number increasing daily,” Nemeth added. “Ford and our dealers continue to do everything we can to minimise inconvenience for our customers, and to ensure their driving safety and satisfaction.”
A total of 4,556 model year 2013 and 2014 1.6-litre Ford Kugas, built between December, 2012 and February, 2014, are affected by the safety recall in South Africa. The recall is a two-phased process.
Once the current stage of the safety recall is completed, and with proper maintenance of the cooling system, the 1.6 Kuga is safe to drive. Ford confirmed that there have been no reports of a Kuga catching fire after the completion of the safety recall action.
In another of its planned regular updates to the National Consumer Commission (NCC), Ford met with the commission on March 2 and provided a comprehensive update on the progress made with the Kuga recall.
The second stage of the recall will be a further product enhancement. Currently, Ford is ensuring that the changes to be made are thoroughly tested, and will communicate with customers about stage two as soon as the process is ready.
Ford South Africa has taken the following steps to minimise any inconvenience its customers may have experienced:
- We announced that Ford has extended the cover on all Kuga models sold in Southern Africa to a total of six years or 200 000km, whichever comes first. The Ford Kuga PremiumCare Extended Plan will be automatically added to all Kuga models in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho, including the Kuga 1.6 petrol, the 1.5-litre petrol, the 2.5-litre petrol, and 2.0-litre diesel and petrol derivatives. It will be loaded against each Kuga’s vehicle identification number (VIN), giving the vehicle a total of six years or 200 000km cover, whichever occurs first, based on the original New Vehicle Limited Warranty start date.
- We expanded our current partnership with the AA for extended Ford Roadside Assistance for all 1.6 Kuga vehicles, including those out of the standard 3-year cover period, to ensure customer reassurance and peace-of-mind.
- We and our dealers have been communicating directly with our customers through SMS, phone calls and e-mails. In addition we have run a social media campaign as well as extensive nationwide advertising in newspapers and online. In addition, we sent out customer letters, for the sake of greater caution, and especially in cases where no other forms of communication were available to make contact with affected customers. This is in compliance with consumer legislation and recall guidelines. Unfortunately, not all Kuga owners have advised us of their change of details, so we have also put a request in to get the outstanding customers’ details from eNatis. At all times, we work in line with the Safety Recall Guidelines in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 of the National Consumer Commission.
- We’ve increased the capacity of our call centre, adding a dedicated Kuga support team, with longer hours and weekend support. The call centre has handled more than 20,000 phone calls and almost 5,000 e-mails from Ford owners since the launch of the safety recall.
- Parts have been delivered to dealers, ensuring that the replacement of parts, testing and verifying the integrity of the cooling system and updating the vehicle software are completed as soon as possible.
- Courtesy vehicles are being provided to affected Kuga 1.6 customers to keep them mobile while the safety recall action is completed.
- We have introduced support programmes to assist our dealers in discussions with their customers.
- Dealers will also provide each 1.6 Kuga customer with a letter confirming that the necessary repair has been made on their vehicle, for additional peace of mind.
We encourage customers to raise any questions or concerns directly through Ford Customer Service at 0860 011 022 or e-mail CRC3@ford.com, so that they may be addressed as quickly as possible.
- If any 1.6 Kuga owner sees any indication that the engine may be overheating or experiences warnings on the instrument cluster, they should pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, switch off the engine and ensure all occupants are safely out of the vehicle. For safety reasons, the bonnet must not be opened.
- If required, the emergency services should be called first, then Ford’s Roadside Assistance on 0861 150 250. Supported through the AA, this service is available 24/7.
- Customers are advised to conduct regular inspection and maintenance of the cooling system – especially regarding maintaining the correct 50/50 water-coolant ratio for top-ups between services. With this safety action and proper maintenance of the engine coolant system, including using the approved coolant at the required concentration level, the vehicles are safe to drive.
- Should a customer experience any engine overheating problem with their 1.6 Kuga, or delays in the repair due to a shortage of parts, arrangements will be made through the nearest Ford dealer and Ford Customer Service to provide a courtesy car while the vehicle is repaired.