GM ignition switch recalls eclipse 1.37M

By CRM Staff

Detroit, Michigan — February 27, 2014 — General Motors has expanded its ignition switch recall to include certain models released between 2003 and 2007. 

GM’s most recent recall focuses on the company’s Saturn Ion (2003-2007), Chevrolet HHR (2006-2007), Pontiac Solstice (2007) and the Saturn Sky (2006-2007), with nearly 236,000 vehicles being recalled in Canada and 588,000 across North America. Combined with the Feb. 13, 2014 recall, more than 1.37 million GM vehicles have been recalled by the company to address the ignition switch defect. 

The company has said it will take all necessary steps to address customers’ concerns and notify those affected individually on a case-by-case basis, while also working with its suppliers to ensure the availability of replacement parts.

“Ensuring our customers’ safety is our first order of business,” GM North America President Alan Batey stated in a company release. “We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can.”

The issues stem from a faulty condition plaguing the torque performance of the company’s ignition key system. The fault allows the key to unintentionally switch off, shutting down the engine and most of the vehicle’s electronic components whenever the key ring is carrying added weight, if the vehicle goes off-road or experiences a jarring event. The ignition switch issue may arise and increase the risk and liklihood of crashes occurring, or may interfere with the deployment of air bags. 

“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,” GM says in the release.

Until GM dealers can replace all faulty ignition switches, the company is urging customers to remove any unecessary key chains or accessories from key rings to decrease the risk of incident.

GM submitted a chronology of events to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States on Feb. 24, an outline which focuses on the company’s original recall of the Chevrolet Coblats and Pontiac G5s and Pursuits, noting the sequence of events, and what happened between the time of the first field incident reports and the time of the recall.   

“The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been,” Batey says in the release. “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.”

NHTSA says that the report submitted by GM indicates the company knew of the defect as early as 2004 and allegedly was privy to atleast one fatal crash in March 2007. The U.S. authority says GM’s report notes it issued bulletins to dealers in 2005 and 2006 telling them how to fix the defect with a key insert while advising customers not to dangle heavier accessories from key chains. However, only 474 GM customers received the insert.

The report notes that GM initially approved a plan in 2005 to redesign the ignition switches, a plan that was later cancelled, and that they knew by 2007 of 10 incidents involving failed airbag deployments.

As of Feb. 26, the NHTSA is investigating the timeliness of General Motors’ recall for the faulty switches, U.S. federal regulations require automakers to notify the organization within five business days of detecting a safety defect.

For GM’s full release, please visit GM.com. 




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