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GM Recall News: Has GM Known About Faulty Ignition Switches Since 2001?

  • Post category:March 2014

Recent GM Recall News Indicates The Ion Manufacturer Knew About Faulty Ignition Switches That Have Been Linked To 13 Deaths

General Motors may have known about faulty ignition switches in their recalled vehicles years earlier, new reports have shown. According to The Wall Street Journal, GM has known about faulty ignition switches on select vehicle models since 2001. This story is the most recent development in the 1.6 million vehicle recall by General Motors. To date, there have been 13 deaths and 31 crashes reportedly caused by faulty ignition switches that trigger the unexpected shut off of the engine.

Previously, GM had reported uncovering the faulty switches in 2004- a full three years later. The Wall Street Journal reports that GM first identified the problem in the pre-production of the Saturn Ion and has yet to uncover the full scope of the problem even 13 years later.

The GM recall has faced controversy from day one. Although GM identified the problem with the switches in 2001, the company did not install a different ignition switch model until 2008, USA Today reports. The original GM recall from 2013 included the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5, but GM expanded the recall once dealers identified the same faulty switch model number in the Saturn Ion, Saturn Sky, and Pontiac Solstice vehicles. According to GM, the error occurs when the ignition key moves from the “run” position to the “accessory position.” This usually occurs when the key is pulled by a heavy keychain or when driving on rough roads.

GM has already dealt with several lawsuits regarding the faulty ignitions, prompting the recall, USA Today reports. In the fall of 2013, GM settled a suit involving the death of a woman driving a vehicle with the faulty ignition switch.

When interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, auto-parts maker Delphi Automotive PLC claimed that replacing the ignition switches costs just a few dollars and takes minutes to install. This has led to more questions for GM about the delay in fixing the problem. According to the Journal, “GM’s failure to act more quickly to remedy a defect that is now linked to accidents in which 12 people have lost their lives over the past decade has landed the company and new Chief Executive Mary Barra at the center of three different investigations.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration following the chronology of the recall uncovered information that proved that GM was aware of the alleged deaths from the faulty switches occurring in Saturn Ion vehicles within weeks of the crash dates. In the initial recall, Saturn Ions were not included. The New York Times reports that GM will undergo congressional committees and the Justice Department to determine why GM took so long to implement the recall.

As part of the recall, USA Today reports that GM will provide a loner vehicle for drivers of recalled vehicles until the repairs are made. GM is also offering $500 off the purchase of a new vehicle to recalled model owners. Owners of the recalled models can take their vehicles into any GM dealer for a free replacement. Repairs will start in April 2014, reports CNN.

Recalled GM models include:
Chevrolet Cobalt from 2005-2007
Pontiac Gs from 2007
Saturn Ion from 2003-2007
Chevrolet HHR from 2006 and 2007
Pontiac Solstice from 2006 and 2007
Saturn Sky from 2006 and 2007

[The Wall Street Journal, March 2014,] [USA Today, March 2014,] [CNN, March 2014,]