A Ford Kuga. Picture: FORD
A Ford Kuga. Picture: FORD

Ford Kuga owners — under threat from the self-combustion of their vehicles — have yet another problem to deal with: an apparent shortage and backlog in the parts necessary to stop their vehicles from catching fire.

The backlog appears set to last until the middle of January and possibly stretch into February‚ according to several Kuga owners who have attempted to get their cars fixed.

Numerous Kuga owners have taken to social media to vent their anger over the parts shortage.

Ford believes that a faulty coolant system on 2013-2014 Kuga models is responsible for the 43 Kugas that have caught fire on SA’s roads since December 2015.

Forensic experts are‚ however‚ at loggerheads about what the causes are‚ with independent investigators claiming that a faulty plastic fuel pipe connection and an electrical wiring problem are responsible for the fires.

So far‚ one person has been killed in the blazes. Reshall Jimmy burnt to death in December 2015 when his car caught alight while he was on holiday in the Wilderness in the Western Cape.

Several Kuga owners have told TMG Digital of their frustrations in trying to get their vehicles fixed.

Fiona Pelman‚ whose vehicle had been at the Ford Secunda dealership in Mpumalanga since last week‚ said she had been told that she could not be helped until next week.

"The local dealer called me to say that they have no parts and that I must come back and collect my car and bring it back next week. I told them there was no way I was coming to collect it as I am scared to drive it.

"I have a six-year-old daughter and there is no way that I can risk driving it with her inside. What happens if it catches fire and I can’t get her out."

She said that several people she knew had been waiting two weeks for the replacement parts for their Kugas to be delivered.

"This is total madness."

In a post on the Ford Vehicles Burning FaceBook group‚ Leigh-Anne MacGregor said she had taken her Kuga in last week for the coolant system check.

"It was meant to be for a so-called hour maintenance check and it’s been a week we have been without our car. We phoned them to find out what’s going on and apparently the parts are only ... expected to arrive in February sometime."

John Gardiner‚ Ford’s news operations director‚ in response to questions on parts shortages‚ said: "While our investigations into the reports of engine fires in Kugas equipped with the 1.6l EcoBoost engine in SA are not complete at this time‚ we have found that the fires may be a result of engine overheating.

"This is why we recommend customers with these vehicles to go to their Ford dealer where they will check the coolant concentration level and for any leaks or damage to the cooling system‚ plus conduct static and dynamic cooling system pressure tests.

"We are ensuring that our dealers have the necessary stock of Ford-approved replacement parts so that they can carry out the maintenance checks on the coolant systems.

"We expect full spare parts coverage at all our dealerships in the next few days. In the interim‚ should a dealer find that a part needs to be replaced on a customer car‚ but that the part is not currently in his stock‚ the customer will be provided with a courtesy car until the part can be replaced."

TMG Digital/The Times

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