General Motors’ safety crisis worsened on June 30 when the automaker added 8.4 million vehicles to its out-of-control list of cars recalled over faulty ignition switches. The latest recalls involve mainly older midsize cars and bring GM’s total this year to 29 million. This total is more than the 22 million recalled by all automakers last year. According to GM, the recalls are for “unintended ignition key rotation” and cover seven vehicles. Models included in Monday’s switch recall include the 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero; 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am; 2000-2005 Pontiac Grand Am; 200-2005 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo and 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix. A separate U.S. recall covers 554,328 vehicles: the 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS and 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX. GM says it’s aware of three deaths, eight injuries and seven crashes involving the vehicles.
NHTSA began asking automakers and parts suppliers for information on the interrelated issues after GM’s small-car recall. NHTSA asked automakers and parts makers for information on switches and how long air bags will inflate after the keys are moved out of the “run” position to “accessory” or “off.” In many cases, the answer is less than a second.
These latest GM recalls bring this year’s total so far to more than 40 million for the U.S. industry. This far surpasses the old full-year record of 30.8 million from 2004. Ironically, the last GM recalls on the ignition switch problem came just hours after Kenneth Feinberg, the company’s “compensation consultant,” announced plans to pay victims of crashes caused by the defective small-car switches.
According to GM, victims in the newly recalled vehicles, even though the same defect is involved, won’t be included in the compensation fund that has been set up for the small-car claims. This is difficult to understand. Of the 29 million vehicles recalled by GM this year, 17.1 million have been over ignition switches. We have asked Feinberg by letter to include all of the recalled vehicles in the GM compensation fund. He has not had time to respond, but hopefully he will and that he will agree with our request.
Source: Associated Press
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