Ford has suspended sales of its new Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUV after four fires which have been linked to over-heating batteries.
Autocar reported this morning (August 11) that existing owners of the best-selling version of the brand’s Kuga model – accounting for half of registrations to date – have also been told not to charge their cars “until further notice”.
The magazine said that Kuga PHEV owners have been asked to keep the car in its "EV Auto" drive mode – steering clear of zero emissions ‘EV Mode’ – until further notice.
Concerns surround vehicles built before June 26, according to Ford, which told Autocar that "information from the field indicates that four vehicle fires are likely to have been caused by the overheating of the high-voltage batteries".
A recall for an estimated 26,000 globally affected models is set to be launched.
A statement issued to AM at lunchtime today, said: "We have identified a potential issue with the overheating of the high voltage drive battery, which in certain circumstances could possibly result in a fire in the battery area.
"The overheating can occur when the vehicle is parked and unattended or is charged.
"Ford is writing to customers and asking them to contact their Ford Dealer so that a rework may be carried out.
"We recognise the inconvenience this may cause to our customers and remain committed to providing our customers with safe and high-quality vehicles, addressing potential issues and responding quickly."
While petrol and diesel versions of the new Kuga remain available, prices for the PHEV version has already proved popular with buyers as Ford pushes on its electrified products in 2020.
Prices start at £33,095 – the same as the two-litre turbodiesel equivalent – and the front-wheel-drive model combines a 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric drivetrain to deliver a combined 225PS.
Ford claims fuel economy of 201mpg alongside CO2 emissions of 32g/km.