Ford’s Fiesta ST is now officially a hot hatch in more ways than one: it’s being recalled in South Africa for the same fire risk that afflicts the Kuga.
Owners of Fiesta models other than the performance-flagship can keep their cool, however, as the 1.6-litre turbocharged ST is the only model that uses the same, albeit differently tuned, engine as the affected Kuga SUVs.
According to Ford South Africa, the ‘voluntary’ safety recall affects approximately 1078 ST hatchbacks, produced between September 2012 and December 2014.
As per the Kuga 1.6T models, Ford’s official statement gives this explanation:
“In the affected vehicles, a lack of coolant circulation could cause an engine to overheat, resulting in a crack in the cylinder head. A cracked cylinder head can result in a pressurized oil leak. Oil that comes into contact with a hot engine surface increases the risk of a fire in the engine compartment.”
But here’s the rub: Ford says that the necessary parts, which include a coolant level sensor with supporting software and hardware upgrades, will only be available by the fourth quarter of this year, meaning drivers will have to stick it out for most of this year. Ford does insist, however, that customers can continue to drive their vehicles, but that they should frequently check their car’s coolant levels and visit a Ford dealer immediately if there are any signs of a coolant leak or of overheating.
Concerned customers can also call 0860 011 022 or e-mail [email protected]
The Fiesta ST is also being recalled abroad for the same reason, along with the Kuga-equivalent Escape and the Fusion models fitted with the 1.6T engine. However, it is unlikely that SA Fusions are affected as the US recall involved 2013-2014 models only, and the sedan was only introduced here in 2015.
Ford South Africa came under fire earlier this year for its handling of the Kuga fire crisis, in which more than 40 1.6-litre models are believed to have caught alight in South Africa alone. Ford did eventually recall the affected vehicles in early January after being pressured by the National Consumer Commission, but was heavily criticised for having delayed the matter for so long and for denying any link to the death of Reshall Jimmy.