Back in June 2020, we alerted you that Ford halted sales of Kuga PHEVs due to fire risk. Owners were told not to charge their vehicles. Now, Ford is taking a step further by delaying the launch of its Escape PHEV to 2021 after reports of thousands of similar vehicles have been recalled in Europe for issues with fires while charging.
Ford had plans to begin series production of the Escape PHEV in the spring, however, later it pushed that back to summer, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, people will have to wait even longer for the new plug-in-hybrid electric SUV. This is all a precaution after the European Ford Kuga, which shares its engine and battery with the Escape PHEV, has become a fire hazard. Ford's Mike Levine commented:
“We’re moving production to next year while we investigate what happened to the Kuga in Europe. None have been sold in the U.S.”
Ford is currently selling the redesigned gas-powered Escape and Escape Hybrid on our shores, though it's not selling as well as expected. In fact, sales are down 32 percent this year. Keep in mind, however, that auto sales, in general, are down across the board in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. With the said, it's safe to assume the Escape PHEV won't break sales records in the States.
Ford is currently working on a fix for its Kuga PHEV. It will work to vent heat away from the battery pack. So far, there have only been seven related fires, all in Europe. However, 20,500 Kugas have been recalled. Interestingly, Kuga PHEV sales accounted for over half of all Kuga sales in Europe in the second quarter of 2020.