Furious motorists are demanding that Vauxhall takes action after a spate of incidents in which parked cars have simply rolled away.
Drivers are blaming the car’s handbrake, which they say has released itself after they have left their vehicle.
Which? knows of more than a dozen cases involving both Vauxhall Vectras and Signums that have careered into other cars, trees and houses.
Caroline Pearce from Northern Ireland had her new Vectra for only eight weeks when it rolled away and wrote off a neighbour’s car.
‘My driveway is at a steep 45-degree angle so I was careful to put on the handbrake. From the time of my setting the handbrake to the stage when it rolled down my drive it was about15 minutes,’ she said.
‘When I got to the car the handbrake was disengaged. There are lots of young children who live around my home and it was lucky that most were in their own houses having their tea. If this had happened any later there would surely have been terrible results. This thought has haunted me ever since.’
The government’s car safety watchdog, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (Vosa), says it is investigating several cases but to date has found no problem with the design or construction of handbrakes.
Vauxhall told Which? it was aware of a small number of incidents. A company spokesman said that it had carried out ‘rigorous reviews’ and tests in co-operation with Vosa but had found no fault with the handbrake mechanism.
However, the company is now planning to inform all Vectra and Signum owners about the correct way to put on the handbrake.