The owners of the Douglas Village Shopping Centre in Cork are suing the makers and alleged seller of a car that went on fire in the centre almost a year ago causing more than €30m worth of damage.

The centre has been closed since the fire on 31 August 2019 and is not expected to open until autumn this year at the earliest, the Commercial Court heard.

The court heard the cost of demolishing and rebuilding the car park as well as other costs, are expected to exceed €30m.

The Commercial Court was told the 06 C Opel Zafira car was owned by a woman called Mohsen Al Khafagy from Lehenaghmore in Cork who had bought it in June 2014.

She parked her car in the centre and was just about to get out to go shopping when she noticed smoke coming from the front of the car.

It is claimed the car caused a "major conflagration" causing "immense damage" to the centre.

The plaintiffs allege the fire originated in and/or was caused by the defective manufacture of the car, in particular the HVAC system used in it.

They are suing Irish company, Leeson Motors Limited, which allegedly distributed an Opel Zafira, B model car with a 06 C registration, manufactured and designed by another defendant Adam Opel GmbH, based in Germany.

The third defendant is Opel Automobile GmbH, also incorporated in Germany, which, since Groupe PSA acquired the Opel brand in 2017, has been involved in continuing any recall campaigns launched before Groupe PSA acquired the Opel brand, including various recalls of Zafira B models.

The plaintiffs are also suing UK company, Vauxhall Motors Ltd.

It is claimed that company was responsible for the conduct and management of recalls of the Zafira B vehicles in the UK and had provided direction to Leeson Motors Ltd in relation to the recalls conducted in Ireland.

The owners of the shopping centre allege the fire damage was caused by the negligence of the defendants in the design and manufacture of the car and the design and implementation of the recall of Opel Zafiras.

They say there was a failure to inform Mrs Al Khafagy of the danger which the car posed to her and her family and to third parties such as the plaintiffs.

They are also claiming for aggravated damages on the basis that the defendants knew and/or recklessly exposed Mrs Al Khafagy and members of the public and property owners to a risk of fire and fire damage.

They say while no one was injured, a determination of liability would assist in deciding other claims by property and car owners arising from the fire.

Mr Justice David Barniville agreed to fast track the case in the Commercial Court.