Burnt-out car will be replaced

A woman who lost her car when it burnt out after a fire in the engine is now relieved that the manufacturers will replace the vehicle, thanks to Consumer Line.

A woman who lost her car when it burnt out after a fire in the engine is now relieved that the manufacturers will replace the vehicle, thanks to Consumer Line.

The manufacture and her insurance company had earlier rejected her claim.

Thembi Shongwe of Soweto bought a brand-new Polo Classic in February last year. Six months later she had only a burnt-out shell to show for her money.

But her miseries are now over after Sowetan intervened on her behalf last month.

The manufacturer, Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA), has had a change of heart and agreed to replace Shongwe's vehicle. Though they had previously rejected the claim they have made the offer after reviewing the matter .

VWSA spokesperson, Nicolene Sampson, said Shongwe's vehicle would be replaced with a similar model with the similar mileage and at no cost to her .

Shongwe says she was driving to Swaziland with her daughter and nephew in August last year when her car lost power and she noticed the charging system warning light on the instrument panel was on.

When she got out of the car to investigate and she noticed smoke coming from the bonnet.

"I removed the children from the car and passing motorists stopped to help, but nobody wanted to open the bonnet because they were afraid that the vehicle might explode," Shongwe says.

She says she called the fire department and they extinguished the fire.

The smoke had developed into flames within 20 minutes, she says.

She called her insurer, 1st For Women, who sent a tow truck to remove her car from the scene.

Two days later she notified VWSA, who sent their forensic experts to examine the car. But two months later VWSA said they could not detect any manufacturing defects and were exonerated from liability.

But Enigma, the forensic experts from 1st For Women, found a manufacturing fault in the vehicle, said Shongwe. VWSA were informed about this but they still insisted there was no such defects, though they could not say what had caused the fire.

1st For Women also declined to pay her claim on the basis that they were not the manufacturers of the car and that it was still under warranty.

Simpson insists there was no manufacturer's defect but that they will replace Shongwe's car as a goodwill gesture.

Shongwe was grateful to get a her set of wheels but said her struggles during the past eight months were "like hell".

"Nicolene from VWSA has just called, informing me that they'll be replacing my vehicle. I am not pleased with their offer because they are replacing it with a used vehicle," Shongwe said.

"But I thank Sowetanfor publishing the story because otherwise this offer wouldn't have been made."

X