...Vaux-hauling cars off the road
Following a wiring defect was found to be responsible for causing fires in Vauxhall Zafira B models, experts fear that the same issue could plague up to 865,000 Corsa D and E models.
Responding to the reports, Dawn Rose – Associate Solicitor and liability expert – explains how Vauxhall may have to implement yet another large recall to avoid costly claims from injured drivers.
Cars going up in flames
Reports have begun to emerge relating to a spate of fires in Vauxhall’s Corsa D models, which were manufactured between 2006 and 2014.
Dozens of motorists have shared their story with media outlets, with all reporting that their Corsa D models set fire during usual daily use.
It has prompted fears that the same faulty wiring unit that caused widespread fires in Zafira B models could affect hundreds of thousands of Corsa models, which is Britain’s second best-selling car.
The problem in the Zafira models was so severe that Vauxhall had to recall almost 235,000 vehicles, at a cost of £50 million.
In a statement responding to a BBC Watchdog segment on the fires in Corsa D models, Vauxhall claimed that the issue in Zafira B models were unique to that vehicle and did not extend to the 865,000 Corsa D and E models currently on the road.
However, expert analysis of affected Corsa D models claimed that there were similar components in the hatchback that caused fires in both the Zafira B and the Hummer H3, a 4×4 manufactured by Vauxhall’s parent company General Motors (GM).
If these fears are confirmed and Vauxhall find that a manufacturing fault is causing fires in Corsa models then the wiring defect could mean a total of 1.1 million vehicles will be involved in the recall, potentially costing the company £200 million.
The news will add another potential recall headache to Vauxhall, who were forced to contact every Zafira owner last December after it was found that a manufacturing fault with the car’s heating system caused a fire risk.
The problem worsened for Vauxhall after it was revealed that vehicles that had been recalled and received a fix were still catching fire; a second recall had to be ordered in May so that another repair could be applied.
Certain variants of the Corsa D are already subject to a safety recall, as 1.4L petrol Turbo editions have been found to pose a fire hazard due to water ingress causing a short circuit to occur in the Vacuum Pump Assembly.
Vauxhall claim that the fault is unique to the 2,767 Corsa 1.4L Turbo models as the same components are not found in standard models.
Responsibility for driver’s safety
MPs grilled Vauxhall executives after the initial recall of Zafira B models did not fix the fire hazard and allegations arose that the company were trying to cover up safety flaws.
At the time the company claimed immediate action to review its entire fleet to ensure that drivers using Vauxhall vehicles were safe, however these latest reports raise a number of further questions.
As Dawn explains, Vauxhall have a responsibility to ensure that their vehicles are safe and may be forced to issue another recall if another manufacturing fault behind these latest reports of fires:
“These reports raise a number of questions about the safety of Vauxhall vehicles and could not have come at a worse time for the company, as they have only just dealt with one widely reported manufacturing fault.”
“While they are claiming that the problem that affected Zafira models extend to the popular Corsa model we have seen before that car manufacturers can quickly change their mind and issue a recall for something that they previously claimed was not a widespread issue.”
“This brings to mind the Takata airbag scandal, which caused over 100 million vehicles to be recalled from a variety of manufacturers.”
“In a similar fashion Takata and manufacturers tried to play down the scale of the issue until motorists were killed by defective airbags.”
“The worrying thing about the Corsa reports is that fires have the potential to cause real harm to owners, and if Vauxhall do find any evidence to suggest this is a manufacturing defect they need to issue a recall to all 865,000 owners.”
“For any Corsa owner that is affected by a vehicle fire, I would advise that they seek legal advice, as they may be able to seek compensation for damages, especially if they have suffered burn injuries due to a vehicle defect.”
Written by Dawn Rose.
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