Late in April 2019, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa said it was “aware” of potential security system problems with “certain older” EcoSport and Fiesta vehicles. Now the firm says certain Focus models may be vulnerable, too.

“We have been testing various models within the Ford line-up to understand potential security vulnerabilities around the key lock barrel,” the local arm of the Blue Oval brand said in its latest statement.

“Through this process we have discovered that the Focus ST and Focus RS appear to be unaffected by the particular modus operandi being used, however certain Focus Ambiente and Trend models (built from September 2015 to date) could be the target of opportunistic thieves,” the company said.

“Criminals appear to gain access to the vehicles by forcing the driver door lock to the open position.”

Ford explained it “has identified a weakness in the perimeter security” that results in all doors being unlocked (and the tailgate micro-switch activated) if the driver door lock is forced open.

“Our dealer network is now able to assist Focus customers with a security upgrade for the nominal cost of R155,25 (including VAT),” Ford SA said, repeating the offer made to Fiesta and EcoSport owners.

“The upgrade will ensure that when the vehicle is opened, with a key or an object the system perceives to be a key (for example, a screwdriver), all doors, except the driver door, will remain locked, including the boot/rear liftgate.

“The upgrade takes no more than 30 minutes to complete, however it is imperative that customers book an appointment,” the company said.

Customers who require a door lock replacement as a result of their vehicle being tampered with can also make an appointment with their dealer. The replacement lock will cost R1 199 “providing there is no additional damage to the door that requires repair”. Ford SA said it is “important to note that only customers that have had their locks broken should make an appointment for a lock replacement”.

“Ford continues to work with a supplier to be able to offer an alarm system that can be retrofitted as an accessory and is looking to offer a stronger security replacement lock accessory. Ford will continue to communicate with customers on the availability of these accessories.”

It's not yet clear when the new, fourth-generation Focus is scheduled to arrive in South Africa, with Ford SA's website simply listing it as "coming soon".