GM adds over 588,000 vehicles to recall involving ignition switch

Article by Andrew Christian, on February 27, 2014

General Motors has added over 588,000 vehicles to a recall to mend ignition switches that may involuntarily shut off engines, leading to crashes. According to GM, a heavy key ring or jarring from rough pavement can shift the ignition out of the run position, thereby cutting of the engine. Once that happens, the front air bags may not deploy, GM said.

GM said in mid-February that it is recalling 780,000 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s (2005-2007 model years) to inspect and fix the ignition switch. The models will be joined by over 588,000 Saturn Ion compacts (2003-2007 model years), and Chevrolet HHR SUVs and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars (2006-2007 model years).

The total number of recalled models is now 1.37 million units. GM, in response to complaints the first recall notice was delayed too long after it received field reports of the issue, remarked that it recently filed documents with the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration detailing the initial recall of "the ignition switch torque performance condition" in Chevrolet Cobalts, and Pontiac G5s and Pursuits.

GM North America President Alan Batey said in a statement that the chronology shows that the “process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been." He said that 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."

The information filed with US safety official outlines events that occurred during the period that elapsed between receiving the first field reports and issuing a recall. GM said the document it first learned of the engine cutoff issue was made in 2004, when the 2005 Cobalt went on sale.

GM said that while its engineers were able to replicate the phenomenon, they closed the probe without taking any action after considering the lead time, cost and effectiveness of potential solutions. [source: Reuters]

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