South Africa

Ford Kuga owners' whose cars caught fire finally get go-ahead for R50,000 compensation

Ford Kuga owners' whose cars caught fire finally get go-ahead for R50,000 compensation

Finally, the dozens of Ford Kuga owners whose vehicles caught fire can claim their R50,000 compensation from the manufacturer.

The settlement agreement was announced by Thezi Mabuza, acting commissioner of the National Consumer Commission (NCC) in November last year, but has only now been made an order by the National Consumer Tribunal.

The agreement - agreed to by the commission and the Ford Motor Company of SA - applies to 56 Ford Kuga owners whose 1.6 Kuga SUVs were distributed between 2014 to 2017 and later caught alight in the engine compartment area, causing extensive damage.

Plus, if the vehicle suffered an engine compartment fire incident and the owner has not yet been compensated for the loss of any “movable goods” damaged in the fire - such as clothes and electronic equipment - they may:

  • submit a claim against Ford in terms of section 61 of the Consumer Protection Act, with advocate Terry Motau providing alternative dispute resolution services; or
  • prove damages in court at their own expense.

The commission investigated the conduct of Ford after receiving 160 complaints from consumers who alleged that their consumer rights were infringed by the company.

Mabuza said in November: “Our investigation into these allegations confirmed that Ford had engaged in prohibited conduct by distributing Ford Kuga vehicles that failed or could have failed as a result of a cooling system failure.

“This meant that the failure of the cooling system rendered the vehicles not suitable for the purpose for which they were generally intended and this resulted in the vehicles being unsafe at the time of the fires”.

Mabuza said on Monday that the order brought the matter “to its finality”.

“I would like to reiterate that the process is in no way trying to deprive a consumer of any of available remedy that they may have in the law,” she said.

 Those who choose the first option will receive their settlement by June and are required to contact the NCC to receive claim forms.