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Ford announces recall of Kuga cars in S.Africa after fires

US motor giant Ford announced Monday the recall of 4,500 1.6-litre Kuga cars in South Africa over safety fears after nearly 40 incidents in which vehicles were reported to have burst into flames.

Over recent years, the SUV model has been the focus of repeated accounts in South Africa of spontaneous fires taking hold while the car was being driven.

“We are now announcing a voluntary safety recall of the Kuga 1.6,” Ford South Africa chief executive Jeffrey Nemeth told a press conference in Pretoria.

“We can confirm that a total of 39 incidents have been reported to Ford… there may be some incidents that have not yet been reported to us.”

Nemeth said that the fires were caused by overheating due to poor coolant circulation that led to an oil leak.

“If the oil leak reaches a hot engine component it could potentially catch fire,” he said.

“With this safety recall all affected vehicles, including those that have already been checked as part of our maintenance check, must be taken to a Ford dealer as soon as possible.”