The BBC One TV programme Watchdog, broadcast on Wednesday 2nd November, featured a section referencing fires in Vauxhall Corsa models. The following customer information outlines Vauxhall’s response to the seven customer cases highlighted by Watchdog and also provides advice on how to check if your Corsa D could be subject to a Safety Recall.
Vauxhall have been approached by BBC One TV’s Watchdog programme to comment on Corsa D fires and have provided details of seven customer cases for response.
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*.
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 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.
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.
Following the Zafira B issue we strengthened our processes but even so it is not always possible to arrange an inspection.
When an inspection is possible 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.
Better access to vehicle fire data could help manufacturers with early detection of safety issues. We are therefore working through our industry body to understand how manufacturers can gain access to data in order to build a more complete picture of potential issues.
*Source: Auto Express 14th September 2016; based on UK Fire and Rescue Service data.
Vauxhall Communications October 31st 2016
The Safety Recall on Corsa D 1.4 Turbo relates only to Black Edition models and a limited number of SE and SRi variants.
2,767 vehicles produced at the Eisenach assembly plant with the 1.4 Turbo engine are included in the recall. 2,721 vehicles were produced as the Corsa D 1.4 Turbo Black Edition. A unique feature of this model is the bi-colour 5 spoke alloy wheel. All models were produced in Black. 46 vehicles were produced in SE and SRi trims.
The Safety Recall was launch on 19th April 2016, and a subsequent revision was released on 10th August 2016 which mandated the replacement of the Vacuum Pump Assembly.
Following DVSA guidelines, all affected customers have been written to using address data from the DVLA and so far 36% of those customers have had the repair work completed. For those customers who have not had the repair work completed, reminder letters are scheduled to be mailed on 4th November 2016.
If customers want to check if their vehicle has had the Safety Recall completed they can contact Vauxhall Customer Care on 0800 026 0867 or they can access the Motorcodes website on the following link http://www.motorcodes.co.uk/vehicle-recall to see if their vehicle has an outstanding Safety Recall.
I have heard of fires in Vauxhall Corsa models on Watchdog, which models are affected?
Vauxhall launched a Safety Recall on 19th April 2016 for a specific Corsa D variant fitted with a 1.4 Turbo charged petrol engine. This Safety Recall was subsequently revised on 10th August 2016 mandating the replacement of the Vacuum Pump Assembly. There were 2,767 Corsa 1.4 Turbo models built at the Eisenach plant and the Safety Recall relates to the potential for a short circuit to occur in the Vacuum Pump Relay box due to water ingress. We have had nine cases reported, all have been investigated and confirmed to relate to this specific issue. Of these only two vehicles caught fire.
All affected customers have been written to using address data from the DVLA and so far 36% of those customers have had the repair work completed. For those customers who have not had the repair work completed, reminder letters are scheduled to be mailed on 4th November 2016. If customers want to check if their vehicle has had the Safety Recall completed they can contact Vauxhall Customer Care on 0800 026 0867 or they can access the Motorcodes website on the following link http://www.motorcodes.co.uk/vehicle-recall to see if their vehicle has an outstanding Safety Recall.
Is the same issue that caused fires in Zafira B now causing fires in Corsa?
No. The cause of fires in Zafira B was specific to right hand drive versions of that model alone. No other Vauxhall vehicle has been impacted or is vulnerable to the same issue. The recall that is in place will provide a permanent solution to the cause of fires in Zafira B.
Why doesn’t Vauxhall always inspect cases of fire?
Our procedure, when customers report a vehicle fire, is to advise them that an inspection may be necessary. We explain that we will need the permission and involvement of their insurance company. This avoids the risk of the customer's policy being invalidated. This procedure has been reinforced and made more rigorous following learnings from Zafira B. However, it is not always possible to arrange an inspection. Even when inspections have been conducted, either by Vauxhall or insurers, the destructive nature of fire can prevent the determination of the root cause.
Clearly, if we have not been able to inspect a vehicle it is not possible for us to determine a root cause. However we do ensure that data related to fires is fed into our internal system, which can help us identify trends and potential issues. Fires can occur for a wide variety of reasons, with the UK Fire and Rescue Service recognising over 18,000 vehicle fires per year based upon a three-year average across all manufacturers (Source: Auto Express 14th September 2016.)
I have a Corsa 1.4, how can I tell if it is a Corsa D 1.4 Turbo?
Corsa D 1.4 Turbo models were mainly produced as Black Edition models, in black, with a Turbo badge on the right hand side of the tailgate and featured unique bi-colour 5 spoke alloy wheels. Just 46 1.4 Turbos were produced in SE and SRI variants. If you are still not clear if your vehicle is a Corsa D 1.4 Turbo you can contact Vauxhall Customer Care on 0800 026 0867 with your registration number.
Why does Vauxhall think the issue that can cause fire in Corsa D 1.4 Turbo only impacts that model and not all Corsa models?
Corsa D 1.4 Turbo models, of which there were 2,767 built at the Eisenach plant, are subject to an ongoing Safety Recall related to the potential for a short circuit to occur in the Vacuum Pump Relay box due to water ingress. We have had nine cases reported, which we have investigated, and are confirmed to relate to this specific issue, and of these only two vehicles caught fire.
No other Corsa D model has a Vacuum Pump relay system so no similar problem can occur in other Corsa D variants.
I have just purchased a Corsa D 1.4 Turbo and I don’t know if it needs the Safety Recall?
You can check if your Corsa D 1.4 Turbo requires the Safety Recall by contacting Vauxhall Customer Care on 0800 026 0867 or accessing the Motorcodes website on the following link http://www.motorcodes.co.uk/vehicle-recall to enter your vehicles details to see if it has an outstanding Safety Recall.
Is there more that Vauxhall is doing to provide early warning of fire issues?
One action Vauxhall is currently pursuing is to try and access more information on vehicle fires from the insurance industry. There is currently no requirement for insurance companies to notify manufacturers about fire cases and with Zafira B we found many cases were only reported to us after a spike in media interest in October 2015. These included incidents dating back several years.
Better access to data about vehicle fires could help all manufacturers with early detection of safety issues. We are therefore working through our industry body to understand what data sharing opportunities could be put in place to provide greater visibility in this area.
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