Recall Alert: 1.3 Million Older Model GM Vehicles

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 1.3 million older-model GM vehicles. The affected cars include model-year 2004-06 and 2008-09 Chevrolet Malibu sedans, 2004-06 Malibu Maxx wagons, non-turbo versions of the 2009-10 Chevrolet HHR hatchback, model-year 2010 versions of the Cobalt coupe and sedan, model-year 2008-09 versions of the Saturn Aura sedan, model-year 2004-07 versions of the Saturn Ion coupe and sedan, and model-year 2005-09 versions of the Pontiac G6. GM is also reporting that certain vehicles that had related service parts installed before May 31, 2010, under a previous safety recall may also be affected.

The Problem: GM is recalling the vehicles due to a sudden loss of electric power steering assist, which increases the risk of a crash. If this happens, drivers will be alerted by a message on the driver information center and a corresponding chime. "Steering control can be maintained because the vehicle will revert to manual steering, but greater driver effort would be required at low vehicle speeds," GM said in a statement.

The automaker also said that it's unaware of any fatalities related to this recall, but some crashes have been reported.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect and replace the affected parts for free. Customers who previously paid for repairs of these parts are eligible for reimbursement, GM said. Owners of non-turbocharged model-year 2006-09 Chevrolet HHRs and model-year 2003 Saturn Ions that are not part of this recall will be given lifetime warranties for replacement of the electronic power steering motor.  

"With these safety recalls and lifetime warranties, we are going after every car that might have this problem, and we are going to make it right. We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough," Jeff Boyer, vice president, GM global vehicle safety, said in a statement.

What Owners Should Do: GM will notify owners, but has not yet released an owner notification timeline. Owners can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020, Pontiac at 800-762-2737 and Saturn at 800-553-6000 for more information.

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By Jennifer Geiger | March 31, 2014 | Comments (2)

2014 Chevrolet Malibu Earns IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus Rating

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety today announced that the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu earned the agency's highest designation, Top Safety Pick Plus. The sedan gets the rating when paired with a forward collision warning system. The Malibu earned a score of good — the highest rating — in the moderate- and small-overlap front, side, roof-strength, and head restraints and seats assessments.

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As of 2014, to earn the Plus designation, vehicles must score a good rating in four of the five crash tests and no less than acceptable in the small-overlap test, as well as at least a basic rating — the lowest level below advanced and superior — in forward collision prevention. The Malibu received a basic score in the assessment for frontal-crash prevention when outfitted with the optional Advanced Safety Package available on the 2LT trim and higher. "The system uses camera and radar systems to monitor the distance to the car in front of the Malibu, and will sound an alert if it senses a possible collision," Chevrolet said in a statement.

The Malibu has been a Top Safety Pick for the past four years, and it's earning its first Top Safety Pick Plus award for 2014. The midsize sedan was redesigned for model-year 2013 and updated again for model-year 2014. It is the second Chevrolet car to receive the honor after the Spark mini car.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 31, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 355 GM Sedans, Crossovers

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Vehicles Affected: About 355 Buick Regal, LaCrosse and Verano sedans and Enclave crossovers; Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze sedans and Traverse crossovers; and GMC Acadia crossovers — all 2014 models equipped with automatic transmissions.

The Problem: The transmission shift cable adjuster may disengage from the transmission shift lever, which could prevent the driver from shifting gear positions, and the indicated shift position may not represent the actual gear position. If disengagement occurs while the vehicle is in motion, when the driver goes to stop and park the vehicle, the driver may be able to shift the lever to the "Park" position, but the vehicle transmission may not be in the correct gear position; if this occurs, the vehicle could roll away, increasing the risk of injury to occupants and bystanders.

The Fix: GM will notify owners starting late this month, and dealers will inspect and replace any affected transmission shift cable adjusters for free.

What Owners Should Do: Chevrolet owners can call 800-222-1020, Buick owners 800-521-7300 and GMC owners 800-462-8782, or owners can call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Chevrolet Malibu Joins NHTSA Five-Star Safety Club

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Like its 2013 predecessor, the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu has joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star safety club, earning identical scores. The latest version of the midsize, front-wheel-drive sedan, which went on sale late last year, earned perfect scores in frontal- and side-crash tests, and four stars in rollover tests, good for an overall score of five stars.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Earns Five Stars From NHTSA

Safety features the NHTSA recommended on the new Malibu include forward collision warning and lane departure warning, both of which are optional. That's in addition to 10 standard airbags, including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as available blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a backup camera.

By Matt Schmitz | January 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

Chevrolet Helps Drivers Pull Fast One With Corvette Data Recorder, 4G Wireless

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Whether your need for speed manifests itself on the track or online, GM is offering two new ways to get a quick fix. This past weekend at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the automaker announced a first-of-its-kind performance data recorder for the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which allows drivers to record video and audio of their hot laps and then use telemetry technology to analyze and improve their times. Meanwhile, the Stingray and a host of other 2015 Chevrolet models will also be available soon with an accelerated data connection to AT&T's high-speed 4G LTE network.

GM developed the performance data recorder with British motorsports-engineering firm Cosworth, and the system will be available on the 2015 Corvette; pricing will be announced later. The PDR's three major components are a high-definition camera mounted in the windshield header to record the driver’s point of view, a self-contained telemetry recorder that uses a GPS receiver to record performance data and a 32-gigabyte memory-card slot in the glove box for recording and transferring video and vehicle data of up to 13 hours.

By Matt Schmitz | January 6, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Chevrolet Malibu: Car Seat Check

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Chevrolet continues to tinker with the Malibu for 2014. After a redesign for the 2013 model year that didn't sit well with consumers, Chevy refreshed the midsize sedan with a larger grille and revised front and rear seats. Despite the changes, we found that most of our child-safety seats fit well in the 2014 Malibu.

By Jennifer Newman | December 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

Camry, Impala Top Most-Stolen List

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Among midsize and large cars, the Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Impala proved most popular among thieves, according to a new report from the crime-stats crunchers at the National Insurance Crime Bureau in Des Plaines, Ill. The report is based on National Crime Information Center vehicle-theft records for a period spanning Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2012, and limited to the 2010, 2011 and 2012 model years. Researchers culled the top 10 list from the 16 makes and 20 models of the midsize class, and the nine makes and 10 models of the large-vehicle class.

During the counting period, a total of 31,586 vehicles were stolen from both car classes combined, with the midsize group comprising the vast majority, with 22,090 thefts, or 70 percent.

The top 10 large/midsize vehicle thefts by make and model are:

By Matt Schmitz | December 5, 2013 | Comments (7)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Chevrolet Malibu

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Vehicles Affected: In two separate actions, GM is recalling 57,605 model-year 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Malibu sedans. The vehicles recalled include 42,696 model-year 2014 vehicles manufactured between June 12, 2013, and Nov. 5, 2013, and 14,909 model-year 2013 vehicles manufactured between Oct. 25, 2011, and June 12, 2012. In the latter recall, the affected sedans are equipped with an eight-way power adjustable front seat.

The Problem: In the larger recall, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning control may intermittently become inoperable when the vehicle is started, preventing the windshield defroster from working; this could decrease the driver's visibility and cause a crash. GM said it is unaware of any accidents, injuries or complaints resulting from the problem. In the smaller recall, the wiring harness for the power adjustable front seat may contact the seat frame, which may chafe the harness; this could expose wires, resulting in unintended movement of the seat, inoperability, sparking under the seat, flickering lights, melted wiring, smoke or a fire. GM said it is aware of two unattended fires that extinguished on their own resulting from the problem, but no crashes or injuries have been reported.

By Matt Schmitz | November 26, 2013 | Comments (13)

Which Midsize Sedan Has the Best Resale Value?

"Which midsize sedan has the best resale value?"

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By Rick Popely | October 13, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Chevrolet Malibu: First Drive

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Chevrolet's midsized Malibu has had a problem during the past year. Sales of the latest model, updated for the 2013 model year, have not been as good as the company had expected. In a string of post-bankruptcy hits like the Cruze compact and Equinox crossover, the redesigned Malibu has stood out as a miss, due to some competitiveness issues in fuel economy and interior room. But this is the new General Motors, where agility and speed are prized as much as profitability, and with a push from upper management we now have a mildly revised Malibu for 2014.

For 2014, Chevrolet's made some updates to styling, simplified powertrain options, improved fuel economy, bumped up usable rear-seat volume a tad and added some interesting features.

By Aaron Bragman | October 11, 2013 | Comments (13)

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