Ford Australia president and CEO Graeme Whickman has encouraged buyers not to lose trust in the brand following the one-off fire that destroyed a new Ford Everest on test with a News Limited journalist last week.
The Blue Oval's inquest yesterday found that the Ford Everest fire, which made global waves last week, was an isolated incident stemming from the incorrect fitment of a battery, and has thereby deemed any recall unnecessary.
We asked Whickman this week if, despite the finding, the news and accompanying image of the flaming Everest would have a lingering effect on sales, by perturbing prospective buyers of both the Everest and its Ranger ute sibling.
“As a one-off event, and with the confidence and surety of a very stringent check, we can assure people they shouldn't have any concerns,” Whickman told CarAdvice.
“I can’t second guess people’s imagery in their mind,” he added, before pointing at an Everest in the car park and saying: “Not that one, but the one up the top, is the one I drove down here, I transport my family around on a day-to-day basis, and I have confidence in the approach.”
Whickman said Ford Australia’s engineers — who developed the Thai-made Everest and Ranger locally — had gone over a number of cars and come to the conclusion that a battery was changed incorrectly, and that there was no systemic issue beyond this.
The findings were that one of six battery cables was not properly located under a bolt. This caused high resistance in the electrical system, and that generated heat.
Ford Everest sales have gotten off to a decent start over its first few months on sale. The company sold 334 units last month, making it the fifth most popular model in its range and giving it 3.2 per cent market share among the total mainstream large SUV segment. The year-to-date tally is 894 units.