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)

Recall Alert: 824,000 GM Vehicles

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Affected Vehicles: About 824,000 model-year 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt subcompact cars and 2008-2011 HHR wagons; 2008-2010 Pontiac Solstice sports cars and G5 subcompacts; and 2008-2010 Saturn Sky sports cars.

The Problem: In this voluntary expansion of the ignition-switch recall already involving 1.6 million vehicles, faulty switches may have been used to repair the latest crop of affected vehicles. According to the automaker, if torque performance is not to GM specification, the ignition switch may unintentionally move from the Run position to the Accessory or Off positions, leading to a loss of power and, as a result, systems such as power steering, antilock brakes and airbags. The risk may be increased if the driver's key ring is carrying added weight, or if the vehicle goes off-road or experiences some jarring event. About 95,000 faulty switches were sold to dealers in the aftermarket and about 90,000 were used in repairs, GM stated, noting that no deaths or injuries have been associated with this new group of recalled vehicles.

"Although the cars were all built with an ignition switch that has had no problems, they might have been repaired with faulty switches left in the parts bins at dealerships and auto shops," GM spokesman Jim Cain told the Los Angeles Times.

The Fix: Owners who may have had a suspect part installed will be notified by GM the week of April 21 via a letter, and dealers will replace the ignition switch for free as parts become available; dealers, distributors and other parts customers will be notified March 31. Customers who paid to have their ignition switches replaced will be eligible for reimbursement. To help prevent an inadvertent shift in the switch, GM has asked owners to use only a key without a keychain while driving the vehicles.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020, Pontiac at 800-762-2737 and Saturn at 800-553-6000, or go to www.gmignitionupdate.com, for more info.

More GM Ignition Recall News

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By Matt Schmitz | March 28, 2014 | Comments (3)

GM Names Safety Chief Amid Ignition-Switch Recall Debacle

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GM has named a new safety chief to oversee safety development of all vehicle systems, including confirmation and validation of safety performance and post-sale safety activities — particularly recalls. CEO Mary Barra on Tuesday announced that GM veteran Jeff Boyer would take the role, effective immediately. The announcement comes after an intense week for the Detroit automaker as it scrambles to manage a massive recall — and the related scrutiny both public and internal — of vehicles in which faulty ignition switches have been implicated, directly or indirectly, in hundreds of deaths.

More GM Ignition Recall News

Boyer, 58, has spent nearly 40 years in a wide range of engineering and safety positions at GM. He will have global responsibility with full support from the automaker, according to a GM statement.

"This new role elevates and integrates our safety process under a single leader so we can set a new standard for customer safety with more rigorous accountability," Barra said in a statement. "If there are any obstacles in his way, Jeff has the authority to clear them. If he needs any additional resources, he will get them."

By Matt Schmitz | March 19, 2014 | Comments (4)

Recall Alert: 2003-2007 Saturn Ion; 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky

2007ChevroletHHRRecall

Vehicles Affected: About 588,000 2003-07 Saturn Ion compact cars, 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR SUVs, and 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars.

The Problem: An issue with the ignition switch could allow the key to unintentionally move or switch to the Accessory or Off position, shutting down the engine and most of the vehicle's electrical components, increasing the risk of a crash. Five crashes, resulting in six deaths, already had been attributed to the problem, for which GM earlier this month recalled 619,122 model-year 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars. This expansion, GM says, raises the number of reported incidents involving frontal crashes in which the recall condition may have caused or contributed to the non-deployment of frontal airbags to 31, with 12 front-seat fatalities. The automaker says the total affected number of U.S. vehicles is now 1,367,146.

By Matt Schmitz | February 25, 2014 | Comments (78)

Lawsuit Claims GM Knew About Deadly Cobalt Problems 10 Years Ago

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On Feb. 13, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall of 619,122 model-year 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars due to a problem that had already been cited as a factor in five crashes resulting in six fatalities. Now, USA Today is reporting that GM knew a full decade earlier about the ignition-switch defect that could cause the cars' engines to shut off while driving and cut off power steering, brakes and safety systems such as airbags.

Chevrolet Cobalt Has Long Recall History

At least one GM engineer experienced the problem while testing the new car, which went on sale in 2004 as a 2005 model, according to documents from the lawsuit over a crash that killed a 29-year-old woman outside Atlanta in 2010. Pediatric nurse Brooke Melton was driving a Cobalt she had bought new in 2005. She had taken the car to a dealer for ignition-switch problems and had just picked it up the day before her crash.

By Matt Schmitz | February 19, 2014 | Comments (7)

Chevrolet Cobalt Has Long Recall History

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GM's ignition switch recall this morning brought the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 to the headlines once more — more than 3½ years after the last Cobalt rolled off GM's Ohio assembly line. Sold in the U.S. for six years, the Cobalt and its G5 twin have had their share of turbulence. We tallied up the recalls so far:

Recall Alert: 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5

It began in November 2004 with a small recall on the new-for-2005 Cobalt due to a headlight shield that could loosen and cause additional glare for oncoming traffic. It affected just 1,378 vehicles.

By Kelsey Mays | February 13, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5

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Vehicles Affected: General Motors is recalling 619,122 model-year 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars

The Problem: The ignition switch where the key is inserted can become loose due to jarring effects from driving off-road or from a key ring carrying too much wait. This can lead to the switch moving out of the Run position, turning off the engine and most of the electrical components. In a crash, this could result in the airbags not deploying. There have been five crashes involving the defect where the airbags did not deploy, resulting in six fatalities. These incidents occurred off-road at high speeds. GM reports an additional 17 crashes where airbags did not deploy with non-fatal injuries.

The Fix: Dealers will replace the ignition switch, which should prevent unintentional key movement.

What Owners Should Do: General Motors is advising customers to remove “non-essential” items from their key rings but not to stop driving the cars. Owners can call GM at 800-521-7300, 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 David Thomas | February 13, 2014 | Comments (12)

GM Recalls Compact Cars After Six Fatalities

2007Chevy Cobalt

Update: Read the full Recall Alert here.

Original Post: General Motors has just announced a recall of approximately 780,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars from the 2005-2007 model years. Early reports indicate that there have been six fatalities due to the problem that can lead the cars in question to lose power and deactivate airbags.

We'll have more on the recall later today. More information can be found on USA Today here.

By David Thomas | February 13, 2014 | Comments (1)

Postal Service Stamps Celebrate American Muscle Cars

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America's romance with classic muscle cars is rooted in a desire to push the envelope. With the U.S. Postal Service's new "Muscle Cars (Forever)" stamp series — on sale now — people can celebrate that nostalgic notion on an envelope. The series features five iconic cars: the 1966 Pontiac GTO, 1967 Ford Shelby GT-500, 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda and 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.

The Muscle Cars stamps are sold in self-adhesive sheets of 20, including four of each design. They're Forever stamps and always equal in value to the current first-class mail 1-ounce rate. Artist Tom Fritz said he based his oil-paint depictions of the cars on his own memories of them while growing up in Southern California. The muscle-car stamps are the third issuance in the "America on the Move" series, which also includes " '50s Sporty Cars" from 2005 and " '50s Fins and Chrome" from 2008.

USA Today reported that NASCAR racing legend Richard Petty made an appearance at the Daytona International Speedway a few days before the Daytona 500, which was held on Feb. 24. He promoted the stamp series on behalf of the Postal Service, posing for photos with his son, NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, in front of a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.

"I've been around racing and muscle cars all my life," USA Today quoted Richard Petty as saying. "These stamps bring back the memories."

See more Muscle Cars series stamps below.

By Matt Schmitz | March 5, 2013 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2003-04 Pontiac Vibe

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General Motors is recalling 135,749 model year 2003-04 Pontiac Vibe hatchbacks due to an electrical problem that could cause the airbags to deploy, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the affected vehicles, manufactured between Jan. 18, 2002, and April 27, 2004, the supplemental restraint system circuits are susceptible to internal electrical shorting; this may create an abnormal current flow and increased heat, which may damage the circuits. The problem could result in an inadvertent deployment of the front airbags or seat belt pretensioners, increasing the risk of a crash.

General Motors will notify owners, though no notification schedule has been specified. Dealers will install a supplemental harness containing an electrical filter between the airbag control module and its wire harness for free. Owners can call GM at 800-620-7668 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

Today's recall follows Wednesday's recall of 752,000 model year 2003-04 Corolla compact sedans and Matrix hatchbacks; the Pontiac Vibe is related to the Matrix and was produced during a Toyota-GM partnership.

Related
Recall Alert: 2003-04 Toyota Corolla and Matrix
Read More about the Pontiac Vibe
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By Matt Schmitz | January 31, 2013 | Comments (1)

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