BBC's Watchdog highlights new Vauxhall fire risk

Updated: 


BBC's Watchdog has broadcast evidence of Vauxhall Corsas going up in flames, with owners claiming the manufacturer is doing nothing about it.

The consumer affairs programme, which aired last night, said that seven owners of Corsa D models – those built between 2006 and 2014 – had been in touch about the issue.

The problem affects Black Edition models and some SE and SRi models with a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine.

In 2015, Vauxhall recalled 220,000 Zafiras following a series of fires. In April this year, it identified a fault with the braking system in some Corsa Ds that could result in fire if water got in.

Of the vehicles belonging to customers who contacted Watchdog, three fell under the recall, and four didn't.

Steve Cachia, from Wolverhampton, owned a 2013 Corsa that burst into flames on his driveway. He told the BBC: "It started off with a little flicker, but within six or seven minutes the whole car was engulfed.

"I was expecting a bang, an explosion. I think we were lucky in respect that we were all sort of up and about.

"If that had happened in the middle of the night that would have been a very different story," he said.

Another Corsa owner, Adrienne Boxhall, said her car suffered a similar fate but when she contacted Vauxhall they 'were not interested'.

The company said it would only look into the incident if the insurer found forensic evidence of a manufacturing defect. However, because Ms Boxhall's insurer paid out without investigating it would not investigate.

In a statement to the BBC, Vauxhall said: "Customer safety is of the utmost importance and we take any report of fire very seriously.

"Vauxhall Corsa D is one of our most popular models, with over 700,000 sold in the UK between 2006 and 2014. Earlier this year we identified a potential fire-related issue with a specific Corsa D variant equipped with the 1.4 Turbo petrol engine.

"Nine cases had previously been reported to us, which we investigated. Two of these cases had resulted in a fire. A safety recall to address this issue was initiated in April 2016 for the 2,767 vehicles affected.
​​​​​​​
"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."