GM's Vauxhall may need to recall Zafira cars after fires reported

LONDON Vauxhall may need to recall tens of thousands of its Zafira mid-sized cars after reports of fires in some heating and ventilation systems, the General Motors-owned (GM.N) British carmaker said on Thursday.The company, which between 2005 and 2014 built 280,000 of the Zafira B models which customers have reported problems with, said a previous A range and the new Zafira Tourer lineup were unaffected. The fault is occurring within a system which only has three components: a resistor, fan motor and pollen filter, a spokesman said, noting the company did not yet know the cause. "Logically (the fault) it's in there, or the way they are interacting, or the way the way they are aging, or the way they've been maintained," a spokesman said."When we get to the root cause, then we will take the necessary action, which could mean a recall," he said, adding the company did not know how many models were still in use. Several posts on Twitter and pictures in trade publications showed images of Zafiras with flames coming from their bonnets, as well as shots showing molten plastic and broken windows following apparent fires. A Facebook group with more than 6,000 members was started by one user who said their car caught fire in September. Vauxhall, the British equivalent of the Opel brand under which GM sells elsewhere in Europe, said it was aware of at least 133 cases reported via the group, which have been dealt with by insurance companies, alongside 20 cases which Vauxhall itself had been inspecting.The company said it was writing to Britain's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to seek a full list of current owners and their addresses, a necessary step were the company to write to drivers in the event of a recall. Vauxhall said only some right-hand drive models, sold primarily in Britain, were affected, alongside smaller numbers in markets such as Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. “The design of the heating and ventilation system on left-hand drive cars is different," the spokesman said.The company has advised customers in Britain who notice "any unusual characteristics", such as a squeaking noise from the dashboard, to contact their local dealer for the vehicle to be inspected. (Editing by Jason Neely and David Holmes)