Vauxhall appears to have another vehicle fires crisis on its hands after an investigation by The Sun indicated that far more Vauxhall Corsa models than first thought could be vulnerable to bursting in to flames.
The investigation by ‘expert engineers’ from GBB engineering group suggests that 865,000 Vauxhall Corsa D and E models suffer from a heater wiring fault that can cause fires behind the dashboard. If proved to be true, this would mean that every Vauxhall Corsa built since 2006 could be affected. It’s also suggested that the problem is a smilar one to that sparked the Zafira B fires recall of 234,938 models in the UK.
Philip Hoyes, the engineer who authored the report, explained that: “The resistive heating associated with Zafira B failure mode 2 has also been identified in the heater wiring harnesses of Vauxhall Corsa D models. “A fire damaged Corsa D, with a history of wiring harness damage, was examined to reveal an origin of fire in the region of the heater system.”
In response to the claims made in The Sun, the manufacturer said that: ”Vauxhall has no confirmed reports of vehicle fires originating in the vehicle heating and ventilation system of the Vauxhall Corsa D/E”.
Vauxhall has already issued a Vauxhall Corsa recall for the 2,767 vehicles affected by the issue. This move came after owners of the fourth-generation Vauxhall Corsa D, built between 2006 and 2014, reported cases of the vehicle catching fire. In April 2016, Vauxhall identified a fault with the braking system in some 1.4-litre petrol Corsa D models where water could get in and fry the electronics, causing a fire. At the time Vauxhall stated that this Corsa issue was not related to the Zafira fires.
Vauxhall said that nine cases had previously been reported to it, of which two had resulted in a fire. As a result, company issued the safety recall in April 2016 for 2,767 vehicles affected.
However, seven Vauxhall Corsa D owners had also contacted the BBC’s Watchdog about their car catching fire, with three of the cars falling under the existing Corsa recall criteria, and four outside it. Vauxhall sold over 700,000 Corsa D models between 2006 and 2014 in the UK and the news left owners asking for more answers from Vauxhall. The latest evidence that more Corsas could be in danger of catching fire will only intensify those calls.
With fire incidents, insurers will often take ownership of the vehicle and launch their own investigation, leaving manufacturers like Vauxhall unable to analyse the vehicle themselves.
With regards to the other owners reporting fires, Vauxhall says it “takes any report of fire very seriously” and would prefer to conduct a joint investigation with the customer’s insurer, but “for a variety of reasons this is not always possible.”
A spokesman from Vauxhall said: “Customer safety is of the utmost importance and we take any report of fire very seriously. Fires can occur for a wide variety of reasons and it’s worth noting that, on average, there are 18,000 vehicle fires a year across all manufacturers in the UK. It is estimated that there are around 35 million vehicles registered in the UK.”