Vauxhall faces criminal investigation over Zafira fires

First fire reported in 2009 but it didn't investigate until 2015 after 161 fires and it went on to blame independents

Vauxhall faces criminal investigation over Zafira fires
Vauxhall was quick to put the blame on non-OE parts and poor repairs.

A criminal investigation has been launched into Vauxhall Zafira fires, the DVSA has confirmed.

It follows a Transport Committee report last year which said the carmaker was too quick in blaming “improper and unauthorised repairs” and too slow to begin a full investigation into fires affecting Zafira B models.

The DVSA is now working with Luton Borough Council’s trading standards officers to investigate Vauxhall.

Trading standards

More than 230,000 Zafira model Bs were sold between 2005 and 2014 that were at risk of catching fire.

The first fire was reported in 2009, with a further 161 incidents reportedly taking place since.

Concluding their damning report, MPs in the Transport Committee said Vauxhall showed a “reckless disregard for safety”, adding that it was “sluggish” to recall vehicles and too quick to blame independent garages for improper repairs rather than identifying the root of the problem which caused some cars to be entirely destroyed by flames.

No efforts were made to trace the poor repairs, the report said.

In November 2015, Vauxhall issued a recall for 200,000 Zafira B cars, and then a second recall for 234,000 cars of the same model in May 2016.

Vehicle recall changes

The inquiry also highlighted failings in the UK’s recalls process, with MPs calling for wide-ranging changes to restore driver confidence.

It found the agency was too reliant on VMs to report safety issues.

The DVSA is currently working with the Department for Transport to investigate the possibility of automatic fails, at MOT stage, for the severest unremediated defects.

The MOT reminder service now also shows outstanding recall information for owners.

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