Family 'terrified' after recalled Ford Kuga catches fire on Auckland motorway
An Auckland couple and their toddler are "traumatised" after the car they thought that been made safe erupted in flames on an Auckland motorway.
On Wednesday night, Stuart and Renee Hartley were travelling in their 2013 Ford Kuga on the Northwestern Motorway when its engine died and the car coasted to a stop.
Seconds later, with three-year-old Joshua and mum Renee in the back seat together, the SUV filled with smoke and caught alight, Stuart Hartley said.
"It was terrifying, luckily the first person to pull over was an off-duty fireman," he said.
Unhurt but upset, Hartley and family are now demanding answers about why the recall of their near-$38,000 car didn't prevent it catching fire.
In March, Ford New Zealand announced a car recall involving 911 Kuga SUVs (2012-2014 models) and 69 Fiesta ST cars (2013-2015).
Hartley is adamant that neither Ford New Zealand nor John Andrew Ford dealership ever contacted him at that time asking him to bring in his Kuga.
Hartley, an insurance industry worker, discovered the potentially deadly Kuga issue after reading a March 30 Stuff article reporting the recall.
He repeatedly called the dealership to book the car in for checks, the Hobsonville resident said.
In April, Hartley received an "interim" recall fix for his Kuga John Andrew Ford. A coolant bottle and cap was replaced and an engine coolant line was re-routed.
Hartley drove away from the dealership's Henderson service department believing that his car was safe to drive.
"My concern here is we purchased a family car from Ford, and Ford said there 'may be an issue' [with Kuga models].
"I had to pull my three-year-old out of a burning vehicle," he said.
John Andrew Ford referred all questions to Ford New Zealand.
Ford spokesman Tom Clancy said the company has requested access to the Hartleys' Kuga to investigate and determine the fire's root cause.
When asked if Ford was concerned the interim recall fix may not have prevented the Hartley's Kuga catching fire, Clancy said the "interim action" was "designed to reduce the risk of a cooling system failure".
A planned, late 2017 "stage two" fix will involve installing a coolant level sensor system and wiring harness and update dashboard software, he said.
The company took several measures to alert Kuga owners their cars needed recalling, Clancy said.
Ford sent a recall advisory to the Hartley's recorded address on April 12 and also posted an advisory on NZTA's Safety Recalls Database.
"Dealers were also alerted so they could check any vehicles that came in for service or if a customer came in with a concern," Clancy said.
"In the absence of the letter, the customer still became aware of the recall and contacted his dealer."
"Ford will always address potential safety issues quickly to ensure the highest safety and quality for our customers."
In February, an Auckland woman said she had to move quickly to "rip" her nephew in a car seat out of a Ford Kuga before it burst into flames.
Dozens of overseas Kuga drivers have also suffered engine fires.