Following months of controversy the National Consumer Commission has said that Ford Motor Company South Africa is to issue a recall of Ford Kuga vehicles fitted with a 1.6 Ecoboost engine.

The recall comes after 48 vehicles spontaneously caught fire on South African roads, one such incident resulted in the death of Reshall Jimmy. The most recent report of a Kuga catching fire came through at the weekend.

“A product that poses any risk to our consumers does not have a place in our market,” said NCC commissioner Ebrahim Mohammed.

Following widespread reports in December 2016 the NCC and Ford met to discuss the matter.

“The NCC instructed Ford to implement precautionary measures that would avoid further incidences,” said Mohammed.

The commissioner went on to say that despite this instruction it has noted with concern that many more incidents have come to light in recent weeks and that consumers were clearly still at risk of harm.

“It is for this reason that the NCC requested an urgent meeting last week to inform Ford of our decision to authorise a safety recall of the vehicle in terms that will be determined by the NCC,” said the commissioner.

“One unfortunate incident is one too many. This incident has dragged on for far too long,” Mohammed said.

Ford Motor Company South Africa chief executive officer Jeff Nemeth said that fires were determined to have been started due to a lack of coolant circulation which may result in the cylinder head cracking and oil leaking out.

“This leaking oil as the potential to catch fire should it come into contact with a hot engine component,” said Nemeth.

“We are now announcing a voluntary recall of the Ford Kuga 1.6,” said the CEO.

At present it is believed that 4 556 Kugas built between December 2012 and February 2014 are affected. All affected vehicles including those that have been evaluated in the maintenance check must be taken to a Ford dealer as soon as possible.

The vehicles will be have parts replaced, software updated and oil leak checks conducted said Ford.