Ford investigator pours cold water on assertions of expert witness in Kuga fire inquiry

Warren Krog's 2013 Ford Kuga is one of 80 which caught fire.
Warren Krog's 2013 Ford Kuga is one of 80 which caught fire.
Image: WARREN KROG

Ford's fightback in the high court inquiry into whether a fault in its Kuga range of luxury SUVs led to the fire which killed Reshall Jimmy in 2015 continued on Tuesday.

John Loud, the principal fire investigator hired by the motoring giant, attempted to douse assertions by private forensic investigator Daniel Joubert that the fire was caused by an electronic fault in the car's body control module.

Testifying in the Cape Town High Court, Loud said flames seen coming out of the windows of the car in video footage taken about a minute after it started did not match the positioning of the body control module.

Reshall Jimmy died when his Ford Kuga caught fire in 2015.
Reshall Jimmy died when his Ford Kuga caught fire in 2015.
Image: Courtesy of his brother Kaveen Jimmy

The module, which contains a series of fuses, sits above the passenger footwell, behind the plastic covering of the dashboard, and is mounted against the firewall separating the passenger and engine compartments, he said.

However, the flames were coming from the other side of the car, and this ruled out the body control module as a source of the fire.

Asked by Judge Robert Hennie what he would have expected to see from the video footage if the fire was on the left-hand side of the car, he said: "I would have expected flames to be coming out of the open window."

Tuesday was Loud's second day of testimony after he travelled to SA with a team from Ford in the US.

More than 80 Ford Kugas have caught fire since Jimmy's death in Wilderness in December 2015. Ford recalled its entire Kuga range in SA to make several safety fixes and, in 2017, it recalled its South African CEO, Jeff Nemeth, to the US.

AfriForum is representing the Jimmy family, who are seeking answers from Ford and blame it for the fires.

The inquiry continues, with AfriForum private prosecutor Gerrie Nel set to start cross-examining Loud after he concludes his evidence in chief.


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