A Durban man who was one of the first people to take his Ford Kuga back to a dealership before it was recalled said he was in a battle to get retail value for his vehicle.

Essenwood resident Vanolan Govender claimed he took his vehicle into the Umgeni Ford dealership on December 21 because he noticed something was wrong with the car.

He asked them to conduct a full inspection. When the Ford fire saga emerged, he said he no longer wanted the vehicle and wished to replace it with another.

Despite the retail value being R276 000, they wanted to give him R100 000 less.

“My concern about the entire saga is, why are Ford Kuga customers being offered trade value for the Kugas and not retail value? Also why are these cars still on the market for sale? They are unsafe. Phase 1 repair is a partial repair and customers have to drive a vehicle that could possibly catch on fire until phase 2 repair is completed.

“Ford is also not claiming responsibility for the electrical fault in Reshall Jimmy’s vehicle, who died. Hence I assume they are not currently doing safety checks on the electrics on the vehicle on the current recall,” said Govender.

He said that despite several attempts to take the issue up with top management at Ford, he had not received any joy.

This week, Ford SA met the National Consumer Commission to update it on the progress made.

It confirmed there had been no incidents reported since the safety recall on January 16.

“I want to stress that with the first stage of the safety recall completed, and with proper maintenance of the coolant system, the 1.6 Kuga is safe to drive. We are committed to keeping our customers mobile.

“We are working closely with the authorities and our dealers to ensure full compliance with all requirements, while everyone at the organisation is dedicated to resolving each and every one of our customers’ concerns,” the company said.

Kuga takes sales knock

Ford South Africa took a 50 percent knock in Kuga sales last month. The latest Naamsa statistics showed that only 74 Kugas were sold in January compared to 146 in December.

A total of 4556 model year 2013 and 2014 1.6-litre Kugas, built between December 2012 and February 2014, are affected by the safety recall in South Africa. The 1.6-litre turbopetrol model was replaced by a 1.5 turbo in late 2014.

Ford SA said the fires were caused by a lack of coolant circulation, which led to a cracking in the cylinder heads and, therefore, an oil leak. If the leaking oil reached a hot engine surface, it could potentially catch fire.

Sunday Tribune

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