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MPs blast 'reckless' Vauxhall over Zafira B fires

Date: 28 April 2017   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

MPs on the Transport Select Committee have blasted Vauxhall over the way it handled investigations into defects which affected hundreds of thousands of Zafira B models and caused a number of fires.

According to the group, the firm was too slow to look into the problem, which came to mainstream attention in 2015, and said the manufacturer was too quick to attribute the fires to improper repairs.

Vauxhall ended up recalling 230,000 Zafiras, built between 2005 and 2014.

The committee added that Vauxhall "showed a reckless disregard for safety" by allowing people to continue to drive affected models once the recall had been announced.

The Transport Select Committee also claimed the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency was too slow to investigate the issue, and said it was critical of a decision not to perform its own testing as part of its initial investigation.

It added that that the DVSA should "ensure it is able to take proportionate and effective enforcement action to ensure vehicle safety", and added that there should be a "credible threat of prosecution for a failure to comply with an instruction from the DVSA" to recall vehicles.

"Vehicle fires are terrifying for their occupants and other road users. In this inquiry, we heard how one car manufacturer was too slow to acknowledge drivers' concerns, too slow to begin an investigation, too slow to address the causes and too slow to alert drivers of real safety concerns. Drivers and their families were needlessly put at risk," said Louise Ellman, chair of the committee.

She added: "All car manufacturers should take heed of the recommendations in this report.  The current voluntary approach to recalls is not robust enough. The DVSA must be given enforcement powers to compel manufacturers to act should it need to do so. This will ensure that drivers can have full confidence in the recall system."