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Vauxhall’s reckless disregard for safety: MPs

Business & Economy 01 May 2017
Vauxhall’s reckless disregard for safety: MPs

Vauxhall showed reckless disregard for safety over fire-risk Zafira B cars – MPs

Hundreds of Zafira B models have burst into flames in recent years and some were destroyed within minutes, campaigners say.

Image: Campaigners said hundreds of Zafira B models have burst into flames

By Adele Robinson, Sky Correspondent

Vauxhall showed a "reckless disregard for safety" by not stopping drivers using cars it knew were a fire risk, according to MPs.

The car manufacturer was "too slow to begin a full investigation", said a report from the Commons Transport Select Committee.

MPs also concluded that Vauxhall was "too quick" to attribute the fires to improper repairs.

Campaigners say hundreds of Zafira B models have burst into flames in recent years. Some cars have been completely destroyed within minutes.

Louise Ellman, MP and chair of the committee, told Sky News that Vauxhall needs to be more responsible for safety.

She said: "Vauxhall denied there was a problem when people were driving around in their vehicles that were bursting into flames.

"It took a Facebook group, media exposure, and the Transport Select Committee to bring this out into the public attention.

"It was only then that Vauxhall acted but even at that point they acted far too slowly they still tried to blame someone else and they didn't take effective action."

Vauxhall Zafira
Image: MPs said the car manufacturer was 'too slow to begin a full investigation'

The MPs' report stated: "Vauxhall's decision to continue to let people drive affected cars amounts to a reckless disregard for safety. This is particularly damning given its admission that it should have notified customers earlier.

"As soon as it became clear that all the causes of the fires affecting the heating and ventilation system had not been found, Vauxhall should have acted."

Concerns that there was a distinctive pattern of fires were first raised within Vauxhall in 2014, but it did not begin an investigation until August 2015.

Vauxhall recalled over 220,000 Zafira B vehicles in December 2015.

The manufacturer initially said the fires were caused by unauthorised repair of a thermal fuse.

The committee said Vauxhall did not identify all the issues that could cause a fire such as faulty blower motors.

The manufacturer became aware of fires in vehicles in February 2016 after a recall.

It took nearly three weeks to inform the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

There was a second recall in May 2016.

The committee also concluded the Department for Transport should have far more powers to recall vehicles.

Vauxhall Zafira
Image: MPs said Vauxhall was 'too quick' to attribute the fires to improper repairs

The car manufacturer apologised to those drivers affected, adding that "nothing is more important to us than safety".

In a statement, it said: "Vauxhall acknowledges that there are lessons to be learned from the cases of fire in Zafira B models.

"We have made changes to the way we investigate cases of vehicle fire and improvements to our recall process to ensure we complete recalls swiftly and minimise customer inconvenience.

"While we recognise that undertaking two recalls was inconvenient for Zafira B customers, we maintain that the first recall was necessary based on our investigations.

"As soon as we had identified the issue, we made it clear to customers in the recall letters how they should operate the heating and ventilation system to keep them safe.

"We have made very good progress with the second recall, which will provide a final fix to the problem. As of today 183,172 vehicles have had the second recall carried out and we have been working closely with DVSA as we complete the process."

  • Vauxhall

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