"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."
The committee compared Vauxhall's case to that of Volkswagen and its dieselgate scandal, but Hope contested, saying: "There are always areas of any manufacturer's actions where you think 'I would have loved to have either known that earlier or taken action earlier'. But we didn't at that stage. Is that acceptable, is that something I feel happy with? No.
"But what I'm really trying to assure you is that it is never about casualness or contempt, or a lack of taking this seriously. That is not the way we think."
A recall to fix improper repairs
The latest Mk2 Zafira recall is the second recent one for the model. It was recalled late last year after it was found that improper repairs to blower motor resistors and thermal fuses could lead to a fire.
Repairs were made, returning affected Zafiras' systems to standard by replacing resistors and inspecting blower motors and pollen filters. But Vauxhall's latest recall was requested to issue a further modification to prevent potential improper repairs from happening again.
Vauxhall said the change would make the system more robust by replacing soldered fuse resistors with wax fuse resistors, therefore reducing the chance of incorrect repair work.
It said that once the recall is complete, all affected vehicles will have a new wax fuse resistor and a new blower motor, along with new moulding at the base of the windscreen to prevent water ingress.
As with the first recall, the repair work is to be carried out free of charge. Owners of affected cars will be contacted by Vauxhall from August to arrange to have the work done.
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