General Motors, as doubled the number of small cars being recalled. They have now added 842,000 bringing the total recall to 1.6 million cars that have faulty ignition switches which have linked to multiple crashes, some of which resulted in fatalities.
Originally General motors recalled 780, 000 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5’s, they have now added recalls for Saturn Ion compacts, Chevrolet HHR SUVs and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars.
The company was called out by a safety advocate who says that GM had been aware of the problem for years and even though people were being killed, did not act.
GM has finally revealed that a heavy key ring or jarring from a rough road can cause the engine and electrical power to simple shut off. This knocks out the power-assisted brakes and steering as well as disabling the front air bags.
As if this isn’t bad enough, this issue has been linked to 31 crashes and 13 front-seat deaths, of those fatalities the airbags did not deploy. It is still not known whether the ignition, or airbag fault is the sole cause of these deaths.
According to GM’s filings with the Natioanl Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company had known of the problem since as early as 2004 and was aware of at least one fatality in 2007. GM did attempt to rectify the issue in bulletins sent out in 2005 and 2006 to dealers on how to fix the problem with a key insert. However records reveal that only 474 vehicles got the key inserts.
The GM North American President Alan Batey said in a statement that the process to examine the problem “was not as robust” and said that the GM of today would have responded in a different manner, saying, “We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward,” he said.
Dealers will now replace the ignition switch for free, but Adler said it will take some time for the parts to be manufactured and sent to dealers.
“We are deeply sorry, and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can,” Batey said.