Vauxhall recalls Corsa over fire risk

Car Manufacturer News
Vauxhall-Corsa

Vauxhall has confirmed that a second model has been recalled over a threat of the car catching fire.

The statement comes as BBC TV consumer programme Watchdog reports an investigation into a fire in a Vauxhall Corsa supermini, and follows Vauxhall’s major recall of Zafira MPVs earlier in 2016 for a fire-related fault.

In April 2016 a recall notice was issued for 2767 examples of the Vauxhall Corsa D, all fitted with the 1.4 turbo petrol engine. The Corsa D is the previous-generation model to the current Corsa, with 700,000 sold in the UK between 2006 and 2014.

Reports suggest the fire risk is due to a short circuit in the vacuum pump relay box and is caused if water is present.It is completely separate to the issue resulting in the Zafira recall, which was blamed on improper repairs to blower motor resistors and thermal fuses.

According to Vauxhall it received nine reports of problems with the Corsa, two of them resulting in a fire. The company emphasises that customer safety is of the utmost importance and it takes any report of fire very seriously.

Vauxhall adds that fire can happen in a vehicle for a number of reasons and according to data from the UK Fire & Rescue Service, there are on average 18,000 vehicle fires across all manufacturers each year. It is now calling for manufacturers to have better access to fire data.

“When customers report a fire to us we explain that an inspection may be necessary but that we need the permission of their insurance company before we can proceed – this avoids the risk of the customer’s insurance policy being invalidated,” the Vauxhall statement says.

“Our preference is to conduct a joint investigation with the customer’s insurer but for a variety of reasons this is not always possible. For example, in some cases the insurance company has already conducted an investigation. In other cases the vehicle may have already been scrapped.”

Vauxhall adds that following the fire issue in its Zafira B model – which saw almost 235,000 cars recalled – its processes were strengthened. However it is still not always possible to arrange an inspection and the destructive nature of fire can make the process of identifying a pattern of fires with a common root cause very challenging.

“It’s also worth bearing in mind that manufacturers frequently do not get to hear about fires in their vehicles. We found with Zafira B, for example, that many cases only emerged after media reports in October 2015. Some of these dated back several years.”

As a result Vauxhall says it is working through the industry to try and gain better access to vehicle fire data, which could help manufacturers with early detection of safety issues.

The brand emphasises that only specific models of the Corsa D with the 1.4 turbo petrol engine are affected by the issue but adds that concerned customers can visit www.vauxhall.co.uk/watchdog for more information.

Andrew Charman

Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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