The ignition switch problem is not the only area where GM is having safety issues. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013 General Motors knew of at least 27 complaints about faulty power driver seats in a number of vehicles before bringing the issue to the agency’s products investigation team in May of this year. This is just another example of how little attention GM paid to known safety defects and how it hides damaging information from public view. This led to the recent recall of 414,000 vehicles for defective bolts. In a recall notice from NHTSA, GM said it first learned of the issue in April 2013, after its engineering team identified a noise complaint on a pre-production durability test vehicle. Subsequently, the automaker received more than two dozen consumer complaints over the issue, but NHTSA products investigators were not notified for more than a year.
GM sent a notice of the recall of 414,333 vehicles in late July. The following vehicles are in the recall: Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, GMC Terrain, Buick Regal and LaCrosse, and Cadillac SRX vehicles. All are from model years 2010-2012, and involve the bolt that secures the power height adjuster. The bolt can become loose and fall out. NHTSA said in a statement:
In the affected vehicles, the bolt that secures the driver’s and passenger’s power front seat height adjuster may fall out causing the seat to drop suddenly to the lowest vertical position.
GM told NHTSA in its July 22 recall notice that when the issue was first discovered at one of its pre-production facilities, engineers found the issue stemmed from a clamp condition on the seat’s height adjuster spindle bolt and seat cushion frame caused by poor extrusion on the bracket, which caused the bolt to become loose but not fall out. Interestingly, the engineers considered the issue to be a “customer annoyance.” But in July, the company was notified of a customer claim regarding a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro, stating that the power driving seat moved while driving, causing a rear end collision with another vehicle. The company determined the bolt in question actually fell out in this case, and soon learned that 27 cases of loose or missing height adjuster bolts had been recorded as of September 2013. GM said in its notice:
There were no other claims identified involving crashes or injuries and no effect on vehicle safety was determined.
For reasons known only to GM, the automakers didn’t assign an investigator to look into the issue until May. During the investigation, an elevated rate of claims for vehicles built beginning in July 2010 through July 2011 was identified. It was discovered by the investigator that a component supplier source change occurred in October 2010 and that GM didn’t begin using parts from a new supplier until July 2011. After GM began using the new supplier, the number of complaints went back down, according to the notice.
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