More recalls from General Motors (GM) yesterday, as GM issued THREE more voluntary recalls this week after last month’s major recall of 1,600,000 GM vehicles in model years 2003 to 2007 for major problems with their ignition switches.
February 2014: GM Announces Recall For Ignition Switch That Turns Car Off
In February 2014, General Motors announced that owners of 2003 – 2007 model year cars needed to come into their local dealerships to have ignition switches replaced because GM had learned that there were flaws in their original ignitions which can cause the car to shut off the engine while turning off the air bags as well. The specific GM cars involved are:
- 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Pursuit sold in Canada only,
- 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
- 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR
- 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice
- 2007 Saturn Sky
The flaw in the GM ignition switches has already caused the deaths of lots of people, and there is a growing controversy surrounding GM’s responsibility to its consumers given that company engineers were aware of this flaw and defect in the GM ignitions being used in cars out on the road since 2004.
That’s right: GM apparently knew about this danger for a decade before issuing a recall to get these cars into GM shops to be fixed.
During that time, news reports have tallied 12 deaths connected to the GM ignition problem. Who knows what the real number is, since people are still becoming aware that the GM ignition in these cars is dangerous.
Meanwhile, GM has hired a new “Vehicle Safety Chief” it announced today: Jeff Boyer will be the first person to fill this new slot at GM which is a job created in order to “quickly identify and resolve product safety issues.”
Congress has started an investigation into the GM ignition recalls, too, and the U.S. Attorney for the State of New York is reported to have begun a federal criminal investigation into this 10 year old mess.
March 2014 GM Recalls Another 1,500,000 GM Vehicles
While everyone is still dealing with the big news of the Ignition Switch Recall in these older GM vehicles, and the need to get these cars fixed before more people fall victim to these defective products and are seriously injured or killed in accidents resulting from the GM ignition’s turning off unexpectedly, another major GM recall was announced yesterday.
General Motors is also recalling 1,200,000 of its crossover Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for repair of the wiring in their side airbags. So far, GM is reporting no one being injured or killed as a result of this product flaw.
The same day, 2013 and 2014 Cadillac XTS sedans were recalled by General Motors because of a problem with their braking systems. GM is recalling 64,000 Cadillacs because these models are known to have overheating brakes that can catch fire. It’s reported that two fires have been known to have started from faulty Cadillac XTS brakes, no injuries have been reported.
Finally, 303,000 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans are being recalled. These are commercial vans that have been discovered to have a need to fix their instrument panel materials to protect unbelted passengers in the commercial vans in case of a crash. Again, no injuries have been reported to have resulted from this recalled product flaw.
The February 2014 General Motors Recall for Ignition Switch Danger
DETROIT – General Motors is expanding the recall of certain 2003-2007 model year vehicles to correct a condition with the ignition switch that may allow the key to unintentionally move or switch to the “accessory” or “off” position, turning off the engine and most of the electrical components on the vehicle.
In addition to 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Pursuit sold in Canada only, GM is separately recalling 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs, and 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and 2007 Saturn Sky models. The affected U.S. vehicle population, including those vehicles recalled Feb. 13, totals 1,367,146.
This expanded vehicle population raises the number of reported incidents involving frontal crashes, in which the recall condition may have caused or contributed to the non-deployment of the frontal airbags, to 31 involving 13 front-seat fatalities.
As part of the recall, GM is taking steps to address customer concerns and working with its suppliers to increase parts production and accelerate availability.
GM will notify all affected customers that in addition to recalling their vehicles and performing repairs at no charge to them, GM and its dealers will work with customers on an individual, case-by-case basis to minimize inconvenience associated with the recall.
“Ensuring our customers’ safety is our first order of business,” said GM North America President Alan Batey. “We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can.”
Going beyond required written notification, GM, through its customer care centers and social media teams, is using customer records and communications channels to notify affected customers of the recall and additional actions the company is willing to take to relieve their concerns and minimize inconvenience.
GM is recalling these vehicles because the ignition switch torque performance may not meet GM specifications. If the torque performance is not to specification, and the key ring is carrying added weight or the vehicle goes off road or experiences some other jarring event, the ignition switch may inadvertently be moved out of the “run” position.
The timing of the key movement out of the “run” position, relative to the activation of the sensing algorithm of the crash event, may result in the airbags not deploying, increasing the potential for occupant injury in certain kinds of crashes.
Dealers will replace the ignition switch to prevent the unintentional or inadvertent key movement. Until this correction is performed, customers should use only the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring. As always, customers should drive responsibly and use their safety belts.
On Monday, the company submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a detailed chronology associated with its initial recall of the ignition switch torque performance condition in Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s and Pursuits. The chronology outlines events that happened during the time that elapsed between receiving the first field reports and issuing a recall.
“The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been,” said Batey. “Today’s GM is committed to doing business differently and better. We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward.”