LISTEN: No party for Ford as the Fiesta’s recalled

LISTEN: No party for Ford as the Fiesta’s recalled

I think it’s fair to say that 2017 has not got off to a great start for Ford South Africa.

Ford vehicles
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And late yesterday it got a bit worse - the manufacturer announced the voluntary recall of another Ford - this time the top-of-the-range performance Fiesta, the ST model, because, “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 pressurised oil leak. Oil that comes into contact with a hot engine surface increases the risk of a fire in the engine compartment.”  

If that sounds familiar it’s because it’s the same reason 4556 Ford Kuga 1.6s were recalled in mid-January. 

On Tuesday came the news that embattled Ford SA CEO Jeff Nemeth was being recalled to the US from April 1, a development which he insists has nothing to do with the Kuga crisis.

Recalled Ford Fiesta

The mid-January Kuga safety recall was pretty much forced on Ford SA by the National Consumer Commission, as the number of burning Kuga reports was edging up to an incredible 50. 

On the same day the Times revealed that several South African insurance companies who’d dealt with fire-related Kuga claims had reported them to Ford going back a couple of years, but no action was taken by the manufacturer. 

As automotive scandals, that’s pretty hard to top. 

Images of Kuga after Kuga with their engines on fire, abandoned on the side of the road and then the logistical nightmare of the recall, as Ford SA wasn’t geared up for it at the time - thousands of Kuga owners bringing their cars in, needing courtesy cars; others wanting to get rid of their Kugas and being unhappy with the trade-in prices they were offered. Even with Ford’s trade-in assistance, the value drop was substantial.

ALSO READ: LISTEN: The Kuga Catastrophe - Ford’s still putting out fires

The Sunday Times this past Sunday that insurers Auto & General and DialDirect, both part of the Telesure group, were planning to take legal action against Ford in relation to three Ford EcoSport fire claims which they’d settled, the EcoSport being the popular smaller Ford SUV.

Ford SA insists that they only know of one EcoSport fire, last month, outside East London, and that the owner had been told to call a breakdown service when she reported a weird engine noise, but chose to carry on driving.

But Auto&General and DialDirect say they’ve paid for two other EcoSport fires, and told Ford about them both - in May and July last year - so that’s a bit mystifying. I should say that I was told the fires occurred in different EcoSport models and in different ways.

As for the Fiesta ST recall, it appears to be part of a global recall of the Fiesta ST. In SA it affects 1078 of the hot hatches, made between September 2012 and December 2014, with the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine.

ALSO READ: Class action suit to be brought against Ford over Kuga fires

Ford announced a recall of 360 000 vehicles in the US and Europe this week, including the Fiesta ST and Escape - which is what the Kuga is called there.

"The safety of our customers is our top priority‚ and the expansion of the safety recall is being rolled out as a precautionary measure on the Fiesta ST,” Nemeth was reported as saying yesterday. “Precautionary” meaning there aren’t reports of them going up in flames.

The affected ST models are to receive free hardware and software upgrades, which include the fitment of a coolant level sensor.

But those parts aren’t going to be available until “the fourth quarter”  - that’s October at the earliest - and the affected owners will be informed when they should book their cars in for the repair. And in the meantime they can carry on driving the cars.

Well, that is unless their car has a coolant leak, is overheating, or needs its coolant topped up a lot.

"Customers should continue to check their vehicle’s coolant levels and can refer to their owner’s manual for instructions on how to check their coolant level and what to do if it is low,"  Ford South Africa said. 

At the time of writing, Ford SA has a notice about the Kuga recall on its website but nothing about the Fiesta ST recall. The Fiesta recall notice is on the company’s Facebook page.

Screengrab - Ford Fiesta

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