General Motors is dangling a $500 cash allowance toward the purchase or lease of a new car to around 1.37 million owners of vehicles recalled for a faulty ignition switch in the United States. In a March 4 notice to dealers that was also posted today web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM said the cash offer is for any 2013-2015 model year Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac.
"GM will not market or solicit owners using this allowance," the notice reads. "We ask that you not market to or solicit these customers either. This allowance is not a sales tool; it is to be used to help customers in need of assistance." GM is also advising dealers to offer loaners to affected customers, who can use the allowance until their units are fix. GM likewise said it would pay to have vehicles towed to the dealership for customers requesting it.
According to the notice, GM will start repairing April 7 the the recalled vehicles, which covered model years 2005-2007 Chevy Cobalts; 2007 Pontiac G5s; 2003-2007 Saturn Ions; 2006-2007 Chevy HHRs; and the 2007 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. The carmaker is facing a Congressional probe and a U.S. Justice Department investigation into how it managed the recall of 1.6 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches. GM had cited 13 related fatalities, but recently revised the total to 12.
The ignition switch on the affected units can shift out of the "run" position, causing the engine to shut off and air bags to deactivate. The risk hikes if the key ring carries extra weight or is jarred from rough road conditions or other impacts. GM is also reminding dealers advise customers that they should remove all items from their key rings, including key fobs. [source: automotive news - sub. required]