Significant reform at DVSA following criticism over Vauxhall Zafira fires

Transport Committee publishes government response to its report on Zafira fires

Significant reform at DVSA following criticism over Vauxhall Zafira fires
The DVSA welcomes the recommendations as a platform to change the way safety recalls are reported and managed to increase consumer confidence and ensure public safety.

Practices and procedures at the DVSA have undergone significant reform following widespread media coverage of Vauxhall Zafira fires in 2015.

The Transport Select Committee said Vauxhall was too slow to begin a full investigation into fires affecting Zafira B models and too quick to attribute them to improper and unauthorised repair.

The Committee also made recommendations on vehicle product safety and the recalls process.

The DVSA is still investigating Vauxhall’s handling of the recalls process.

In accepting many of the Committee’s recommendations, the government’s response outlines how practices at the DVSA have been changed or are under review.

Review of existing powers

Government departments are to review existing powers of enforcement to ensure they are being used effectively.

The DVSA is in discussions with the DVLA and the insurance industry to identify opportunities for prompting safety recalls.

It is also working with DfT to investigate the possibility of automatic MOT fails for the most severe recalls that have not been remedied.

Technical work to add the recall information to the MOT reminder service using SMMT data is due to commence in October 2017 with the new improved service available in early 2018.

Related: Vauxhall was too quick in blaming ‘improper and unauthorised repairs’ for Zafira B fires

Chair of the Transport Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP said:  “I am pleased that the government has listened to, and is acting upon, the recommendations made by the Committee in the last Parliament.

“Vauxhall customers are, quite rightly, still looking for answers.

“We await the outcome of the DVSA investigation into Vauxhall’s actions, which we will be examining closely.

“We welcome the commitment made by the government to report back to the Committee by 31 March 2018.”

In 2015, Vauxhall’s Zafira B model became a cause for concern when a distinctive pattern of fires was identified.

Some of the fires were serious enough to destroy entire vehicles and cause damage to the surrounding environment.

Although the Model B Zafira was no longer on the market by the time Vauxhall became aware of the fires, the company sold more than 230,000 Model B Zafiras with manual or no air conditioning between 2005 and 2014.

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