Ford has stopped deliveries of the plug-in hybrid version of its Kuga SUV over concerns about battery fires.
Owners who have already taken collection of their cars have been asked not to charge the high-voltage battery ‘until further notice’ and keep the vehicle in its ‘EV Auto’ mode.
Autocar magazine has reported that Ford has issued a statement saying sales of Kuga PHEVs built before 26 June 2020 had been temporarily suspended, saying “information from the field indicates that four vehicle fires are likely to have been caused by the overheating of the high-voltage batteries”.
A safety recall has been issued for all affected models and customers are being written to to get the issue fixed once parts are available.
Unconfirmed reports from Autocar suggest the fires are related to the battery charging module overheating.
It is not believed that any injuries have occurred as a result of the fires, or why only those built before 26 June have the issue. Up to 27,000 vehicles could be affected globally.
The plug-in hybrid Kuga only went on sale this year, but it has proved a big success for Ford, representing half of all Kuga sales across Europe in the second quarter of 2020.
Ford’s statement in full reads: “The sale of Kuga PHEV vehicles built prior to 26 June 2020, has been suspended temporarily.
“Ford also recalls all vehicles with customers to update them with an additional heat shield and manifold according to the current manufacturing status, and informs customers of all affected Kuga PHEVs in service not to charge their vehicle’s high voltage battery until this update is made.
“As part of Ford’s ongoing quality and safety processes, a potential concern has been identified with the high voltage drive battery in these vehicles. Information from the field indicates that four vehicle fires are likely to have been caused by the overheating of the high voltage batteries.”
Temporary setback for Ford’s popular new SUV
While no car company likes to issue a recall – especially one associated with its cars catching fire – the likelihood is that this issue will be resolved quickly and existing Kuga PHEV owners should only be inconvenienced for a short time. The fact that the recall only applies to vehicles build before the end of June suggests that Ford has already found a solution and started applying it to cars built after that date.
The new Ford Kuga has been selling well, with half of all sales being the plug-in hybrid version. Based on 13 initial reviews of the plug-in version, the new Kuga currently holds an Expert Rating of 80% on our unique Expert Rating scale that analyses new car reviews from 21 of the UK’s top motoring websites. This isn’t the best in its class (the Peugeot 3008 remains the top-rated mid-size SUV with an Expert Rating of 83%), but it is certainly among the class leaders.
Stuart Masson, Editor