MORAY PARENTS WHO own Vauxhall’s popular Zafira cars have been speaking of their fears for the safety of their children as concerns grow over faulty heating systems – and are warning others of the danger.
Earlier this week Nicola Johnston and Duncan Nicoll were forced to flee from their Keith home when their Zafira inexplicably burst into flames while parked.
The car had been on their driveway on Banff Road with the engine running to defrost the vehicle – but the heating system reached dangerous temperatures and inside a few minutes the car had burst into flames.
Faulty heating systems in the Vauxhall range have been reported throughout the UK and were the subject of an investigation on the BBC’s Watchdog consumer affairs show. Vauxhall have consistently refused to admit liability – but have also claimed that they have written three times to the 220,000 UK owners of the cars.
However, Zafira owner Kirstin Edward from Forres says that she is one of many who has never received any notification from Vauxhall – and now fears for the safety of her own family of three, a 12-year-old, nine-year-old and 22-month old toddler.
“In the past week there has been seven fires that I have been made aware of through a Zafira owner Facebook page,” Kirstin told insideMoray, adding: “Vauxhall are blaming shoddy repairs but some cars with the 13 registration plate have had no repairs whatsoever.
“Many thousands of owners are still unaware that there is an issue – Vauxhall tell you not to use the heating and if you do only in short blasts on a level of four.
“The fire in Keith is the first one I have heard of in Moray – but there have been many in other parts of the country. However, they have not been widely publicised as Vauxhall continue to deny there is an issue – while claiming the fix is just a small piece of foam that helps to stop water ingression.
“There has been some near misses in terms of loss of life – but mine is one of four families I know who own these cars and only two have been officially informed by Vauxhall.
“There are a lot of Zafira’s in Moray and it would be interesting to hear from other owners on if they have received any notification from Vauxhall or if they have had an update to their cars aimed at making them safe.”
Kirstin added that she has “fire drilled” her own children as a safety measure but now fears the worse as she learns more of the issues facing the vehicles owners – not the least of them a significant drop in the value of the cars as a result of the issue.
She said: “I only purchased mine in January last year at Culloden – it is now worth 30% less because nobody wants them.”
Vauxhall said that they would be issuing a recall notice on 220,000 Zafira vehicles in November last year after reports of 130 having burst into flames. The company UK Chairman Rory Harvey said: “Safety is our priority and we have been working tirelessly in the past weeks to find the root cause and contact owners to explain the situation.”
Kirstin advises Zafira owners to join the 14,360-strong group on Facebook where they can read more on the issues faced by owners.