Here we go again. Ford has issued a recall notice and, lo and behold, what is sitting in the middle of the list, the pre-facelift Kuga, including that 1.5-litre EcoBoost version that grabbed the headlines before. And what could go wrong this time? It’s possible they could catch fire.
In a statement, Ford Motor Company Southern Africa says it “has learned that certain derivatives of Focus, Kuga and Transit Connect and Tourneo Connect vehicles with manual gearboxes could suffer a clutch pressure plate fracture, with the risk of fire. Safety is always a top priority and we are acting quickly to address this issue.”
A total of 13 430 vehicles have been identified under the recall campaign, with Ford saying that as “a precautionary measure” owners should take their vehicles to their dealership in order to have a diagnostic test completed. Should the dealer identify any clutch slippage then the entire clutch assembly will be replaced.
All diagnostic tests and clutch replacements will be done without any charge to the customer.
The company says it is also developing an upgrade to the vehicle software so that the cars affected can detect excessive clutch slippage themselves and advise the owner to take their vehicle in. It says this software update will be available from the beginning of May.
In spite of the existence of the fire risk, Ford says: “We want to reassure our customers that the affected vehicles remain safe to drive,” adding “we remain committed to providing our customers with safe and high quality vehicles, addressing potential issues and responding quickly for our customers.”
The vehicles included in the campaign are all petrol models and have been made at different plants around the world. They include the Ford Focus 1.0-litre (4 555 models in SA) and 1.5-litre (641) petrol models made at the Saarlouis plant between August 1 2012 and June 30 2016.
Kuga 1.5-litre (2 353) and 1.6-litre (5 052) models made in Valencia between August 1 2011 and June 30 2016 are affected as are 556 examples of the Tourneo Connect and 273 Transit Connect models, all made at Saarlouis between August 1 2012 and June 30 2016.
If you are unsure if your vehicle is included in the campaign then Ford says owners can contact their nearest dealer for advice or call or e-mail its national customer service operation on 0860 011 022 or CRC3@ford.com. – Mark Smyth