GM May Have Known About Ignition Problem in 2003


Amid at least three investigations, including a federal criminal probe, new records show GM may have known in 2003 about the ignition-switch problem that led to the recent recall of 1.37 million U.S. small cars from the mid-2000s. That's a year earlier than originally thought. The problem, in which the airbags are disarmed when the ignition gets jarred to the Off or Accessory position leading up to a crash, has been linked to 12 deaths and 31 incidents where airbags failed to deploy.

More on GM's Ignition-Switch Recall

The Detroit News reports that documents sent by GM to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chronicle that in 2003, a service technician found a customer's Saturn Ion — one of six recalled nameplates — stalled while driving. The technician concluded that the customer's key-laden keychain "had worn out the ignition switch," according to the Detroit News.

GM also disclosed that it noted an ignition-switch problem in a preproduction Ion in 2001, but it resolved the issue with an updated switch. The relation to the current recall is unclear, however.

The automaker claims its analysis included reviewing data from crashes involving the Ion, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky vehicles. The Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 also are part of the recall. "Today's GM is fully committed to learning from the past while embracing the highest standards for quality and performance now and in the future," spokesman Alan Adler told the Detroit News.

But NHTSA — itself facing questions from Congress on how it handled the matter — said it didn't get "timely information" from GM, acting administrator David Friedman told Bloomberg News on Tuesday. The agency has sent GM a list of 107 questions; it expects answers by April 3.

Manufacturer image



my 01 alero had the same issues with a heavy keychain.

Karen Brinkmann

I recently bought a 2006 Saturn Ion 2 and have nothing but problems ever since. I had problems getting the car to start. Once it did start it stayed started. Unless you parked it for more than a few hours then you had to start all over to get it started. The battery has been replaced. The ignition switch 2x (or so they told me)What was interesting was that when I bought the car the key used to start it was a Chevy key and when they replaced the ignition I got a chewed up Saturn key. The tumblers inside the ignition and the key configuration won't allow it to start. I've had the starter, altenator and the engine checked and all of those are good. Someone mentioned to me it could be the fuel pump as they can't hear it kicking on. I had read about this recall coming on the internet but last week when I went to the local dealer I was told GM didn't have a recall for ignitions as of yet. Well now they do. What should I do? Get the ignition changed out and see if that's the problem and go from there? I would appreciate some help on this.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App