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Worst of Defects Caused 31 Crashes, 13 Deaths: GM Expands Ignition Switch Recall

Wed February 26 2014 6:48 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=68663
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General Motors is nearly doubling the number of vehicles it is recalling to fix ignition switches that can shut off engines and cause crashes. The recall now includes five additional models and totals nearly 1.4 million vehicles. The problem has been linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths. Jeff Glor reports.

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.

2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts
2005-2007 Pontiac G5
2005-2007 Pontiac Pursuit

2003-2007 Saturn Ions
2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs
2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice
2007 Saturn Sky

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.”

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