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Vauxhall Zafira B fires - MPs call Vauxhall "reckless" over fires

A government report has slammed Vauxhall for its slow reaction to the car fires which could have put the public at risk

Words ByDarren Moss

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Vauxhall Zafira

The Parliamentary Select Committee has published a report criticising Vauxhall's response to fires in the Vauxhall Zafira B model, stating that the car maker showed a "reckless disregard for safety".

It states that Vauxhall's response to the fires was "morally reprehensible" and that it was too slow to take action. It also says Vauxhall was too quick to blame garages for improper and unauthorised repairs, and alleges that no efforts were made to trace poor repairs.

Vauxhall has said there were "lessons to be learned" from the fires.

What's the problem?

The problem affected second-generation Zafira models built between 2005 and 2014, commonly known as the Zafira B, with manual or no air conditioning. Some of these cars caught fire from behind the dashboard due to a fault within the ventilation system.

The car maker first became aware of the problem in 2009 and in 2014 concerns were raised that the fires had a similar pattern. However, Vauxhall didn't start to investigate them until August 2015, after more than 160 fires had occurred.

In December 2015, Vauxhall issued its first recall, writing to all 234,938 Zafira B owners to make them aware of the issue and telling them to contact their dealer if they notice anything suspicious about their car's ventilation system (such as any squeaks), or if their car's ventilation fan doesn't work in speed settings 1, 2 or 3.

Although Vauxhall was made aware of the first fire in a recalled car in February 2016, it did not issue a second recall until May of that year.

What was done in the second Zafira recall?

In its second Zafira B recall, Vauxhall not only repaired the fault, it also upgraded the parts affected within the ventilation system.

The first-generation Zafira and the current Zafira Tourer are not affected by the recall, and nor are any cars with automatic climate control.

What do I need to do?

At the time of writing, Vauxhall states that it has "made very good progress with the second recall which provides a final fix to the problem". It has confirmed that 183,172 vehicles have had the second recall work carried out and that it is "working closely with DVSA" to complete the process.

If you own a Zafira B and it hasn't been back to a Vauxhall dealer for both sets of recall work, you should contact your local dealer as soon as possible.

If you're considering buying a Zafira B, check with the seller that the work carried out in the second recall has been completed.

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