Vauxhall/Opel Zafira Fires Spark Criminal Investigation. A criminal investigation is now underway into fires affecting 161 Vauxhall Zafira B models built between 2005 and 2014, brought by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). In 2017, a Transport Committee report concluded that Vauxhall had been too slow to begin a full investigation into the fires and had shown “a reckless disregard for safety”. Vauxhall was first made aware of a Zafira catching fire in 2009, but an investigation didn’t begin until August 2015, with a second recall taking place in 2016.
A statement from the DVSA stated: “We have made it clear to manufacturers that to protect consumers, they should swiftly rectify problems and meet their obligations under the code of practice. DVSA will take the necessary action against any manufacturers who fail to comply with their obligations.” Last year, the Transport Committee stated that Vauxhall had placed “reputational damage ahead of safety”.
Zafira models with manual or no air-conditioning are affected, with the fire caused by faulty repairs to a thermal fuse resistor. According to Vauxhall, 92 per cent of the models at risk have now been recalled and no one has been seriously injured in one of the vehicle fires. In June last year, Vauxhall called on the Government to help the automotive industry gain access to vehicle fire data held by insurers, which ‘may be able to identify potential issues earlier than at present’.