Ford has announced it is temporarily suspending sales of the new Kuga PHEV model because of a fire risk.
Ford of Europe this week announced there was an issue with the battery of the new model – some 329 of which have been sold here in Ireland – and that owners were being advised to contact their dealer immediately so the problem can be rectified.
A spokesman for Ford said owners were being written to about the issue and, as a result of the problem, sales and deliveries were being temporarily suspended.
“Information from the field indicates that four vehicle fires are likely to have been caused by the overheating of the high-voltage batteries," they said.
The "potential concern" has not only led to deliveries and sales of new models being stopped; buyers who have received their cars have also been contacted and told not to charge their high-voltage battery "until further notice". They have been asked to keep the car in its "EV Auto" drive mode.
It's not yet known how difficult the problem will be to resolve, but sources indicate the installation of a heat shield should rectify the matter.
Although it's not believed that any injuries have been reported as a result of the fires, the fact that multiple fires have been reported on a relatively new car is cause for concern.
Also unclear is why the problem affects only Kugas built prior to the end of June. It's believed that up to 27,000 cars globally are affected.
Almost 20 years ago, Audi opened up the sporty premium compact market segment with the first Audi S3. This week, the brand presented the new generation with the Audi S3 Sportback and Audi S3 Saloon and announced the cars will be available from the beginning of November.
In Ireland, prices for the S3 Sportback start at €52,800 RRP (not including delivery).
With a drivetrain similar to the VW Golf R, the cars will come with a 2.0 TFSI engine producing 310 bhp (228kW) of power and 400 Nm of torque. Both models accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in 4.8 seconds.
A seven-speed S tronic, the quattro drive with intelligent control, and an S-specific sport suspension with optional damper control deliver the power to the road effortlessly. A number of other new features, including the operating concept, infotainment, and assist systems, round off the high-tech character of the S3 models.
High-tech features like the Audi valvelift system (AVS) mean the combustion chambers are well filled, while thermal management helps to ensure high efficiency. Both models accelerate from 0 to 100 kph under five seconds and are governed to a top speed of 250 kph. The driver can use the standard series Audi drive select system to make the sound of the powerful four-cylinder turbo engine even crisper.
The seven-speed S tronic with lightning-fast gear shifts and freewheeling function and the quattro all-wheel drive deliver the torque to the road. The hydraulic multi-plate clutch in front of the rear axle is fully variable and moves between the front and the back as required, combining dynamic performance with stability and efficiency.
With its four-link rear axle and progressive steering, the standard suspension offers everything that is required for pleasurable driving, lowering the body by 15 millimetres (0.6 in). Valves control the oil flow in the dampers so that they adapt to the condition of the road, the driving situation, and the driver’s requests in an individual and ongoing in a few thousandths of a second, offering more comfort and dynamism than it’s predecessor model.
Presales of the new compact S3 models start in Ireland in October 2020, with the first vehicles being delivered from beginning of November. In Ireland, prices for the S3 Sportback start at €52,800 RRP (not including delivery).
Toyota says the new Yaris – petrol versions only – are now on sale in their dealers from €19,695 or €157/month on PCP and can be tested right now.
The company reckons that for just €27 more per month, customers can upgrade to a new generation Yaris versus the outgoing model, with PCP.
The Yaris self-charging hybrid electric version will arrive in dealerships in late October, with a new fourth generation 1.5 Hybrid Dynamic Force system on offer.
Yaris has long been a favourite of Irish customers, and is a model which has enjoyed sustained popularity and a reputation for consistent innovation.
The first-generation model, launched in Europe in 1999, was Toyota’s first model to win the European Car of the Year title, and was distinguished by its “big small” character with its remarkably spacious interior. The second-generation Yaris was the first B-segment model to gain a top five-star rating in Euro NCAP’s safety testing programme, while the third-generation introduced hybrid electric power to the small car market for the first time and made further advances in safety with the standard provision of Toyota Safety Sense advanced driver assistance systems.
The latest generation Yaris has been redesigned both inside and out. Born from a ‘Why Stop?’ attitude, Toyota’s spirit of continuous improvement helped define its new shape, new tech and better performance. Its new dynamic design and an engaging interior will appeal to those who are motivated by stylish looks, a dynamic drive, and those who want a progressive car that has less environmental impact.
Steve Tormey, Chief Executive of Toyota Ireland, said, “We’re delighted to announce the launch of the new fourth generation Yaris, with the petrol model arriving in Ireland now and the self-charging hybrid variant arriving later in the year. The Yaris has been a pinnacle of driving innovation since it was first launched in 1999. It has gone from strength to strength, not least in winning the WRC in 2018.
“Since its arrival in the Irish market in 2012, the Yaris hybrid has performed incredibly well and, despite it being in its 9th year, it’s still the best-selling car in its segment in 2020. The newest generation Yaris has the most efficient hybrid powertrain and is developed on the global TNGA platform."
He continued, “Following on from Akio Toyoda’s ‘No more boring cars’ statement, this latest Yaris shows that with an energetic and dynamic design and the latest self-charging hybrid technology this car will be perfect for customers with an eye for design and a desire to make sustainable choices.
“We’re delighted to offer an affordable entry to the new generation Yaris with our petrol model which is extremely competitively priced with a fantastic PCP offering, which we will appeal to our younger customers.
“The Yaris really represents Toyota’s spirit of continuous improvement and reinvention and with this new generation of Yaris we look forward to introducing our customers, both current and new to Toyota’s dynamic range."
The Yaris petrol is available for test drive in your local Toyota dealership now.