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South African Ford car owners warned to take precaution with locking system

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South African Ford car owners have reported a high rate of break-ins and other faulty security features in their cars, Ford SA has vowed to fix the problem.

A Facebook group called “My FORD was broken into South Africa” has almost 10 000 members who have regularly posted pictures of their Ford vehicles’ locks which were broken in parking lots and shopping malls, where valuables such as laptops and handbags were taken from the cars. On 15 April 2019, Ford owner Briony Simon posted a picture on Facebook that showed three Ford vehicles which had been broken into, all three cars were targeted at the Centurion Mall on the same night. Simon claims Ford is aware of the problem, but that the company charges R5 000 to repair the locks.

Another Ford owner, Gary Clarke, posted “I have two motor vehicles, a Ford EcoSport and not a Ford. The Ford EcoSport was broken into three times at the shopping centre I frequent; the door lock was broken on all three occasions. The other car – not a Ford – has never been tampered with at the same shopping centre.” Clack posted an accompanying picture of his EcoSport’s broken lock.

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The piercing uproar has resulted in Carte Blanche, one of South Africa’s investigative journalism television shows, probing into the claims and will be broadcasting a segment on Sunday, 28 April 2019.

After the continuous Facebook posts, Ford South Africa’s Corporate Transformation Manager Craig von Essen posted a video on Facebook and Twitter, explaining the company’s plans to rectify the matter.

“While newer Ford EcoSport and Fiesta vehicles are not affected, we are aware of older models being targeted,” Von Essen said. “In some break-ins, the alarm does not sound – although the immobiliser is still active.

“We regret the inconvenience to our customers – and we will soon launch the following enhancements: The alarm, if fitted, will remain active – and will sound if the car is broken into through the key lock. And, for models without a standard alarm, we will offer one as an accessory. This alarm will also sound if the lock is tampered with. Thirdly, we will offer a replacement lock with a remote and a high-security key,” he said.

Von Essen concluded by stating that the company was finalising these solutions and would be communicating to customers as “a matter of urgency.”

Abenathi Gqomo
[email protected]

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