Ford Motors announced that it will recall over 4,500 Kuga SUV that is being sold in South Africa after several reports of the vehicles catching fire spontaneously. Ford SA CEO, Jeff Nemeth, said in a press briefing that while the company is still investigating the numerous engine fires, the data that they have led the company to believe that the fire started as a result of engine overheating and oil leaks.
The company confirmed that they are already 39 incidents of the cars catching fire. Nemeth said, "We are not aware of any injuries that have resulted from our engine compartment fires." He added that one of the contributing factors of the incident is due to the hot weather in South Africa.
According to Ford, it can start with a lack of engine coolant circulation causing the engine to overheat, which afterward can lead to a crack in the cylinder head, and oil leaks will go onto to the hot engine components and starts a fire. Original reports indicated that 6300 vehicles were already affected.
The voluntary recall of the 4,500 cars will only affect Kuga models that were built between December 2012 and February 2014. Ford didn't disclose the cost of the recall to Ford, but it will replace all affected components on the cooling system, conduct tests on cylinder heads and software updates.
Furthermore, 46 1.6-liter turbocharged Ford Kuga's were reported to have caught fire in South Africa, and two of those incidents happened in the past week alone. In October, there were 400,000 units of the Ford Escape - the U.S version of the Kuga, that were recalled due to engine problems.
Ford already asked all Kuga owners in December to take their vehicles to any nearest Ford dealer for a safety inspection. The company also mentioned that if any Kuga 1.6 owners see any signs that the engine may be overheating, the driver must immediately pull over, switch the engine and make sure that all passengers are safely out of the vehicle. They may call Ford's Roadside Assistance on 0861-150-250 that is available 24/7.