There have been numerous reports in Australia as well. But Ford Australia has not confirmed any recalls yet, unlike in South Africa, where it has done so. Ford Australia says it is still speaking with affected owners and they are investigating whether it needs to call in all Kugas with 1.6-liter engine for a fix.
According to Business Live, it is still not too late for Ford to repair its brand. Ford has tried to avoid the issue but it was finally compelled to do a recall of more than 4,000 Kuga 1.6l models in January 2017. 51 Kugas burst into flames in South Africa as well as a couple in neighboring countries. One person lost his life.
The company was put under pressure by the National Consumer Commission, which greatly damaged the brand. Critics believe that it is not too late for Ford SA to embark on a massive public relations campaign to rebuild trust with consumers and mitigate the damage done to its image. They believe that Ford has to make a new marketing plan not to sell more cars, but to restore consumer confidence. They need to be open and honest about the situation, and also more concerned about customers than about the legal implications of the situation.
In the past, Ford has provided a customer service number where people can call for information and assistance, but the goodwill of this has been offset by some Ford Dealers refusing to help customers as instructed. Despite all this, Ford has to act quickly because the window of opportunity is closing and the company is operating in a difficult economic environment. The latest car sales figures show a 15.3% year-on-year drop in new car sales in South Africa and 2017 is also expected to be tough.
Car Advice reported that Ford has the same issues in Australia. There have been numerous reports of Ford Kuga catching fire in the engine bay, but there are no mentions of a recall from Ford yet. The vehicles in question all use the 1.6-liter turbocharged petrol engine, and the fire is speculated to be a result of poor coolant circulation.
The South African and Australian-market Kugas come from the same plant in Spain. Ford Australia reported that it was still too early to enact a full recall on affected Kuga vehicles. They claim that there are some differences under the bonnet that warrant further investigation.