Johannesburg – South Africa's National Consumer Commission (NCC) said it had launched a probe into Ford South Africa over the Ford Kuga engine fire saga.

“I can confirm that the NCC has instituted an investigation into the activities of Ford SA and its dealerships after receiving complaints alleging prohibited conduct. I further confirm that the NCC has duly notified Ford SA of this enforcement activity,” says Commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed.

Mohamed said that the NCC had received more than 130 complaints against Ford SA relating to various issues, including the combusting of Kuga vehicles, since December last year. He said that complaints against Ford SA continue to be lodged with the NCC on a daily basis.

“The NCC views allegations of prohibited conduct in a very serious light. We will leave no stone unturned in our quest to get to the bottom of the issues that have been raised by consumers,” exclaimed Mohamed.

Ford SA spokesperson Rella Bernardes said the firm had followed safety guidelines.

"We have received the notice from the NCC and will continue to fully cooperate with them on all fronts. At all times, we operate in line with the Safety Recall Guidelines in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, 2008," she said in a statement.

In January Ford announced a two-stage recall for 4566 1.6-litre Kugas built between February 2012 and February 2014.

But the company’s handling of the situation came under severe criticism after it emerged that insurance companies had alerted Ford to the problem more than a year earlier. A Kuga fire has also been linked to the death of Jimmy Reshall in 2015, although Ford controversially denied any links to the engine fires for which the vehicle was recalled.

IOL & Reuters