LONDON (Reuters) -- General Motors’ Opel/Vauxhall unit may need to recall some Zafira minivans built between 2005 and 2014 after reports of fires in some heating and ventilation systems.
GM sells the Zafira through both its Vauxhall and Opel brands in various markets. It said only some right-hand-drive models, sold primarily in the UK 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," a company spokesman said on Thursday.
Opel/Vauxhall built 280,000 of the Zafira B models between 2005 and 2014. The new Zafira Tourer lineup is unaffected by the problem, the automaker said.
The carmaker said investigations it had conducted so far had shown a "very low" number of incidents, some due to previous repairs being done improperly or the use of non-Opel/Vauxhall parts but that it had yet to discover the underlying cause.
"When we get to the root cause, then we will take the necessary action which could mean a recall," the spokesman said, adding that the company did not know how many models were still in use.
The automaker said the fault was occurring within a system which only has three components: a resistor, fan motor and pollen filter.
"Logically [the fault] it's in there, or the way they are interacting, or the way the way they are ageing, or the way they've been maintained," the spokesman said.
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.
The UK brand Vauxhall 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 has advised UK customers who notice "any unusual characteristics," such as a squeaking noise from the dashboard, to contact their local dealer for the vehicle to be inspected.
The company said it was writing to the UK’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.