Survey: Recalls Influence Car Shoppers

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If you're weary of the nonstop recall coverage lately, we don't blame you. It's been an unprecedented year for them. Tallying recalls is a dubious task, given the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's counts a vehicle recall as anything from passenger cars to garbage trucks and motorcycles. But the Detroit Free Press counted 56.1 million auto recalls year to date on Oct. 20 — a figure that thumped NHTSA's prior record of 30.8 million vehicle recalls set in 2004, according to annual totals obtained by Cars.com. And that was two days before NHTSA added another 3.1 million cars to a widespread airbag recall.

Related: What Cars Are Included in the Takata Airbag Recall?

Meanwhile, new-car sales at GM are up 3.9 percent through October. That falls short of the industry's 5.5 percent gain, according to Automotive News, but it's better than you'd expect for an automaker whose 25.6 million recalls top other automakers by a mile. Other recall-heavy automakers have had mixed years: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is up 15.8 percent and Toyota is up 5.8 percent, but Ford and Honda are roughly flat.

Still, a new survey suggests that car shoppers do, in fact, care about recalls — and most of them know about this year's largest ones. How that influences shoppers' decisions, on the other hand, is up for debate.

By Kelsey Mays | November 10, 2014 | Comments (1)

Report: GM Ordered Replacement Ignition Switches Two Months Before Recall

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The New York Times reported today that GM ordered some 500,000 replacement ignition switches from auto-parts supplier Delphi Automotive in December 2013. That was nearly two months before GM told regulators and the general public that the existing ignition switches, which have led to some 2.2 million recalled small cars in the U.S., could get bumped into the "off" position. Citing emails declassified by a plaintiff's attorney during class-action litigation against GM — and first reported by The Wall Street Journal — the Times notes that the request represented "an urgent field action" and far outweighed a previous request for 11,000 such switches in 2012.

Related: New House Report Blasts NHTSA

The report fuels claims that GM knew about the problem before disclosing it to the public. Earlier this year, news reports said GM may have known about the faulty switches as early as 2002. The automaker faces investigations from the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, 48 state attorneys general and Canadian officials, according to The Detroit News.

GM says the emails simply confirm that the automaker's previous defect reporting and investigation systems needed reform, something it claimed it's done. "We have reorganized our entire safety investigation and decision process and have more investigators, move issues more quickly and make decisions with better data," the automaker said in a statement.

Click here to read the full story from the New York Times.

Cars.com photo by Ian Merritt

By Kelsey Mays | November 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2011-2013 Chevrolet Caprice, 2008-2009 Pontiac G8

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Vehicles Affected: More than 47,000 model-year 2011-13 Chevrolet Caprice and 2008-09 Pontiac G8 sedans

The Problem: According to The Detroit News, there is a risk under certain conditions that the driver's knee may bump the ignition key and unintentionally move the key away from the Run position; this could cause stalling and frontal airbag failure, increasing the risk of a crash or injury in a crash. GM said it is aware of one crash and no injuries or deaths related to the vehicles affected by this recall, the newspaper reported. The automaker has recalled 2.6 million vehicles linked to nearly two-dozen deaths and 54 crashes as a result of the stalling and airbag failure.

The Fix: GM will notify owners, and dealers will separate the remote keyless entry transmitter from the key blade and housing assembly, and discard the original key blade and housing assembly, ensuring that it is not retained by the customer, The Detroit News reported. Dealers will cut and fit the revised key blade and housing assembly, in which the blade has been indexed by 90 degrees, to the original transmitter assembly, the newspaper stated. The automaker advised that, until repairs are made, drivers adjust their seat and steering column to allow clearance between their knee and the ignition key. GM has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call GM at 800-553-6000 for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | October 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

New House Report Blasts NHTSA

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On the heels of yesterday's New York Times investigation, a report from the House Energy and Commerce Committee blasted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for an alleged series of critical mistakes leading up to GM's recall of some 2.2 million small cars in the U.S. over faulty ignitions.

Related: GM Ignition-Switch Recall: What Owners Need To Know

The 44-page report claims NHTSA had information to identify the defects, which have been linked to more than a dozen deaths, as early as 2007. The report also concludes that the agency failed to link three investigations on crashes involving airbags that didn't deploy in the Chevrolet Cobalt and didn't understand "vehicle systems and functions implemented in response to the agency's own standards," including the link between airbags and vehicle power.

NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman defended the agency to The Detroit News on Monday, saying he'd met with a dozen automakers to facilitate further discussions on how vehicle systems interact. NHTSA's actions have also prompted some 1,300 recalls over the past decade.

Click here to read more on the report from The Detroit News.

duha127/iStock/Thinkstock

By Kelsey Mays | September 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2002-2004 Saturn Vue

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Vehicles Affected: 202,115 Saturn Vue SUVs from the 2002 to 2004 model years in the U.S., with around 13,000 more outside the country.

The Problem: Two potential issues exist. The first is that if you stop the vehicle and put the automatic transmission in Park, you could have a hard time getting the key out. "The ignition cylinder can bind, and the key can get stuck in there," GM spokesman Alan Adler told us. The second possibility is an opposite problem: The key may be removable when the car is stopped but not in Park. Although this is an ignition-related issue, Adler said that there is no danger of what GM has termed "unintended key rotation" — i.e., the key getting bumped out of the Run position while the car is moving, which is responsible for more than 10 million GM recalls this year. "It's not an ignition switch" problem, Adler maintained. "That is not the issue here." That said, GM said in a press release that it's aware of two crashes and one injury "potentially related" to the Vue's issue.

The Fix: GM dealers will inspect the key for either problem. If it exists, dealers will replace the ignition cylinder and keys for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Saturn customer assistance at 800-553-6000. Adler says he doesn't have a timeline yet on how long it will take for replacement parts to show up, but GM recommends that owners ensure their vehicles are in Park before exiting; stick-shift SUVs (yes, Saturn did sell a few) should be put into Reverse and the parking brake should be set.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

By Kelsey Mays | August 8, 2014 | Comments (3)

Report: GM Can't Find 6.4 Percent of Ignition-Recalled Cars

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Of the 2.2 million small cars in the U.S. that GM recalled for faulty ignition switches, the automaker can't find nearly 140,000 owners. A July 25 regulatory filing to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 139,592 recall notices for the Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other compacts couldn't be delivered, according to The Detroit News. That amounts to 6.4 percent of the cars, which GM recalled in a series of campaigns between Feb. 25 and April 9.

GM Ignition-Switch Recall: What Owners Need to Know

"Six percent is not really high at all, in terms of unreachable [owners]," GM spokesman Alan Adler told us. "We couldn't find owners for them at the end of the quarter. I'm sure the number's much lower now. That's all June 30 numbers."

The information comes as the automaker has reached out to owners of the cars, which range from the 2003 to the 2011 model years, through mailed notices, social media, English and Spanish versions of a recall website, gmignitionupdate.com, and full-page newspaper ads, The Detroit News reports.

By Kelsey Mays | August 8, 2014 | Comments (2)

Report: GM Cars in Ignition-Cylinder Recall Selling for Less

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A new report by iSeeCars.com says cars involved in the most serious of GM's ignition-related recalls have lower prices on the used-car market. The Woburn, Mass.-based automotive site, and Cars.com partner, analyzed more than 11 million cars for sale and found the listed price of recalled cars has dropped more than double the rate of non-luxury used cars in general.

More on GM's Ignition Recalls

The website looked at listed prices for the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007 Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2007 Saturn Sky and 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice. All six models were among the 2.2 million cars recalled in the U.S. between Feb. 25 and April 9 for faulty ignition switches and then, ultimately, faulty ignition cylinders.

By Kelsey Mays | July 25, 2014 | Comments (3)

GM Issues Stop-Sale Order on Cadillac SRX, CTS

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GM has asked dealers to stop selling several used Cadillac models that have a standard key ignition. The stop-sale order, which Bloomberg News reported on July 19, involves the 2004-06 Cadillac SRX SUV; 2003-13 Cadillac CTS sedan, coupe and wagon; and the 2014 CTS coupe and wagon — both from the previous generation, not the redesigned 2014 CTS sedan. All cars affected by the stop-sale order have conventional remote keyless entry; any cars with optional keyless access and push-button start are exempt.

More Details on GM's Latest — and Largest — Ignition-Related Recall

The sales stoppage includes Cadillac models involved in a June 30 expansion of GM's ignition-related recalls, which totaled 7.6 million Cadillac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac models. The Cadillac CTS and SRX, whose key can inadvertently rotate out of the Run position if the driver's knee bumps it, requires a replacement key. A similar situation prompted GM to recall nearly 465,000 model-year 2010-14 Chevrolet Camaro sports cars on June 13.

By Kelsey Mays | July 21, 2014 | Comments (5)

More Details on GM's Latest -- and Largest -- Ignition-Related Recall

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Today's GM recall encompassed 7.55 million cars in the U.S. and another 893,547 cars outside the country. About 97 percent stem from inadvertent rotation of the ignition key across a slew of 1997-2014 models, which sounds similar to the ignition-switch defects that spurred the recall of 2.19 million small cars between February and April.
 
Recall Alert: 6.8 Million Additional GM Vehicles for Ignition Key Fix

It's not, GM claims. The problem — and GM's solution — is closer to the automaker's more recent ignition-related recalls: 464,712 Chevrolet Camaros in the U.S. on June 13 and 3.16 million larger cars in the U.S. on June 16. Confused? That's because GM's ignition-related recalls, which are now responsible for more than half the automaker's 2014 U.S. recall total, are three separate, albeit related, categories:

GM says this latest recall stems from the second and third problems.

By Kelsey Mays | June 30, 2014 | Comments (4)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Cadillac CTS, 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 554,000 model-year 2004-06 Cadillac SRX crossovers and model-year 2013 CTS sedans, coupes and wagons as well as model-year 2014 CTS coupes and wagons; the redesigned 2014 CTS sedan isn't affected.

The Problem: GM is reporting that the driver's knee could bump the key fob, causing the key to move out of the Run position. This could lead to a reduction or loss of power. This is an expansion of a previous recall.

The Fix: GM is changing the key's design; the change will make the ignition key and fob independent of each other. 

What Owners Should Do: The automaker has not yet provided an owner notification schedule; owners can call Cadillac at 800-333-4223 for more information.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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Editor's note: This post was updated on July 2 to include CTS body style information.

By Jennifer Geiger | June 30, 2014 | Comments (3)

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