Vauxhall has admitted that it first received reports of the Zafira B spontaneously combusting as far back as 2009.
The British carmaker has since issued two recalls of the model – one in December 2015, and another in May this year, contacting all 234,938 owners in the UK.
However, questions are now being raised as to why the manufacturer took no action to warn customers or recall the model earlier, despite Peter Hope, Vauxhall's customer experience director, admitting that the first recorded problem with the car’s heating and ventilation system occured on February 11 2009.
Hope made the admission at a hearing with the Commons’ transport committee, adding that that the company had identified 19 cases of fires clearly linked to a heating issue.
This is a far cry from the London Fire Brigade’s figures, which said it had attended 120 Zafira fires since 2013, 14 of which were this year.
When asked by MPs why Vauxhall had taken so long to act, Hope replied: “Often when fires are reported [the cause is] not clear – either because the vehicles themselves are totally destroyed or because we don't have access to the vehicle to inspect it.
"For those vehicles prior to 2014, we didn't have enough evidence from the reporting system that we had to identify this as an issue that we could take action with.
"From 2014 onwards, there was a recognition of a pattern and that was then investigated extensively with our engineers."
SNP MP Stewart McDonald accused Hope and Charles Klein, General Motor’s engineering executive director, of treating their customers with ‘complete contempt’.
He told the pair: "Your response to this has been wholly inadequate and contemptuous to people [who] you have just said are loyal to your brand."
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.
July 20, 2016