GM Investigated Over Ignition Recall of 1.6 Million Cars, Issues Apology for Acting Too Slowly

March 19, 2014

general-motorsGeneral Motors Co. (GM) took years to recall 1.6 million small cars over an ignition-switch defect linked to 13 deaths in crashes.

On the GM Media page their press release states they are recalling the vehicles because the ignition switch torque performance may not meet GM specifications. If the torque performance is not to specification, and the key ring too heavy or the vehicle goes off road or experiences some other jarring event, the ignition switch may inadvertently be moved out of the “run” position.

When the ignition switch is not in the “run” position, the engine shuts off and the safety systems are disabled, which may result in the airbags not deploying, increasing the potential for occupant injury in certain kinds of crashes.

Models Being Recalled

  • 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
  • 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2997-2010 Pontiac G5
  • 2007 -2010 Saturn Sky

Reaction and Investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced their investigation via an email statement, and could fine GM a maximum of $35 million if it finds that GM acted too late.  Despite the automaker being made aware of the defective ignition switches as early as 2004, GM believed that circulating a service bulletin to its dealers in 2005 was sufficient action.

The LA Times reports that it was not until 2007 that NHTSA brought a report of a fatal crash to GM’s attention. After losing control of her 2005 Chevrolet Cobat and slamming into a tree, a 16-year-old Maryland girl was killed.  The LA Times reported that the girl was not wearing her seatbelt.

GM “Deeply Sorry”

On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, GM North America President Alan Batey said in a statement, “Ensuring our customers’ safety is our first order of business […] We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can.”

The press release from GM says the company is going beyond required written notification, and 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.

Have You Experienced An Injury or Similar Problems with Your GM Model?

If you or your loved one has suffered an injury or experienced a similar problem with your GM vehicle, please contact one of our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.   Free and confidential consultations are available by calling toll-free (866) 981-4800 or filling out the form to your right.