The mysterious fires that burned down four vehicles in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi this month are no longer restricted to motorbikes, but have spread to cars, it appears.
A Mercedes 300E was completely destroyed on Sunday in a fire that broke out suddenly, but the four passengers inside luckily escaped unscathed.
Ngo Van Nam, the owner of the car, said he and the others had smelled smoke while heading for the northern province of Nam Dinh, and quickly got out.
Ten minutes later the fire broke out, he said.
The car was registered in 2001 and he bought it secondhand in 2006. He said he used it frequently and never saw any sign of explosion or fire before.
Local agencies are inspecting the cause.
Vu Thi Bach Nga, head of the consumer protection division at the Vietnam Competition Authority, told Thanh Nien the same day that her agency had sent a letter to Honda Vietnam asking it if the motorbike fires were related to its products' quality.
The Japanese firm has seven days to reply.
Between December 9 and 16 four motorbikes, three of them produced or imported by Honda Vietnam, were destroyed in similar fashion in Hanoi by going up in fire on the road for no obvious reason.
However, on December 13, in its only comment so far on the accidents, Honda said it had not detected any fault in its products that could account for the fires.