Tag Archive | "Vauxhall Zafira Fires"


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A criminal investigation into the Vauxhall Zafira fire scandal has been launched by DVSA.

The government agency is working with officers from Luton Trading Standards to investigate Vauxhall.

In a written statement, Andy Rice, DVSA head of counter-fraud & investigations, said:: “DVSAs priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles”.

“We have made it clear to manufacturers that to protect consumers, they should swiftly rectify problems and meet their obligations under the code of practice”.

“DVSA will take the necessary action against any manufacturers who fail to comply with their obligations.”

The long-running saga of the people carriers catching fire dates back to 2009, when the then GM-owned carmaker first had reports of blazes.

Six years later, and following reports of over a hundred more fires, the VM attempted to point the finger at the aftermarket, blaming ‘unauthorised repairs’ to the thermal resistor cut-off on the heater blower, a recall was offered. The repair was unsuccessful in fixing the problem and another recall with a more extensive repair was made.

Following this, Vauxhall bosses were called into a Select Committee hearing and faced questions from MPs.

Although a majority of the 160 recorded fires have resulted in the total destruction of the vehicle, to date there have been no reports of serious injuries.

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The Transport Select Committee has published its long-awaited report on the spate of Zafira car fires and Vauxhall’s reaction to it.

The report follows last year’s hearing, in which a panel of MPs grilled GM bosses on the issue. In it, the committee is damning of the VMs original claim that the fires were caused by ‘improper repairs’ carried out by the aftermarket. “A fire cannot occur in a Zafira’s heating and ventilation system solely because the resistor controlling the speed of the blower motor has been improperly repaired; another fault, such as corrosion of the blower motor due to water ingress, would also need to be present” read the opening paragraph of the report’s summary.

The document is particularly critical of Vauxhall’s apparent reluctance to accept the part that corrosion in blower motors in the affected models has played in causing the fires, noting that Vauxhall’s initial investigation did not identify all the failings that could cause a fire.

An executive summary adds: “Vauxhall does not appear to have grasped the seriousness of the issue, placing the blame on third parties and addressing the problem, in the first instance, through a non-coded action rather than a recall”.

The report explains that while Vauxhall blamed the problem on ‘third party repairs’ the car-maker made no effort to find out where such ‘dangerous practices’ were carried out. However, the strongest words in the report were reserved for Vauxhall’s decision to let people to continue to use their cars after the first recall turned out to be infective ineffective amounted to ‘a reckless disregard for safety’. “This is particularly damning given its admission that it should have notified customers earlier”.

You can read the summary, recommendations and the full report here

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zafirefiresTwo senior employees of General Motors have faced a Commons Select Committee over the infamous Vauxhall Zafira fires and the causes as well as the firm’s response to them.

Charles J Klein, an Engineering Director at GM and Peter Hope, Vauxhall’s Customer Experience Director fielded questions from a hostile panel. When being probed on the cause of the fires, Hope said that isolated incidents had been reported as far back as 2009, but it was in 2014 when a spate of fires happened and a pattern emerged. When pushed on the cause of the fires, Hope said: “We investigated a situation where the thermal fuse had been manipulated in a way that it could present a fire risk. The components had been manipulated because when the fuse was repaired and not replaced it represented a fire risk. Without the repair, we were unable to get temperatures over 100 degrees – not hot enough to cause a fire”.

He added: “The manipulated fuses are likely from the ‘outside’ automotive service industry. I would say that the fuse is not meant to be repaired”. However, the politicians were not impressed with this explanation. Committee Chair Louise Ellman MP found it ‘incredulous’ that Vauxhall had not attempted to find out where these supposed ‘manipulations’ were performed. “It seems odd. You are so convinced that this is the cause of 300 fires, but you haven’t been able to find any garage that has done it?” she asked.

Klein admitted that a ‘second root cause’ was identified when cars that had already been through the first recall continued to catch fire. However, the explanation cut no ice with Stewart Malcolm McDonald MP who said: “I feel you have led the committee a merry dance. At first you said there were up to 300 road mechanics that had manipulated the fuse, and then when pushed you said that there may be a fault with the vehicle. Which one is it?” On this, Hope could only repeat the statement that ‘two root causes had been identified’.

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