Senior Vauxhall and General Motors representatives have admitted to the UK's Transport Committee that they knew of fire issues with the Vauxhall Zafira Mk2s back in 2009, but didn't carry out an investigation until 2014 because they were unable to confirm if the cases were linked.
Peter Hope, Vauxhall's customer experience director, and Charles J Klein, engineering executive director for global CO2 strategy and energy centre at General Motors, were grilled by the committee earlier today following the recall of 234,938 Zafira Mk2s after it was found the model had a fire issue.
The first recall was announced late last year and another was issued this May because the car maker wanted to change electrical components to further prevent a risk of fire. Today's parliamentary committee, which is responsible for the Department for Transport, called into question why the recalls were so delayed despite reports claiming that hundreds of Mk2 Zafira owners had experienced fires since 2009.
"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," answered Hope. "For those vehicles prior to 2014, we didn't have enough evidence from the reporting system which 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."
But the response didn't satisfy the committee members, with one stating that Vauxhall's action weren't good enough. "You knew the car wasn't safe and you sat on your hands for so long."