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GM’s CEO Apologizes before Congress, Recall Issues Expand

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On April 1, 2014, GM CEO Mary Barra apologized for the 13 deaths linked to a faulty ignition switch in some GM models.  Barra and David Friedman, acting chief of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  answered questions from members of the Commerce Committee and House Energy Committee. 

Members argued that GM continued to sell cars even after “knowing they were unsafe.”  Barra said it was “very disturbing” to see GM documents from 2005 showing the company found it to be too expensive to fix the issues.

Barra said they are doing a complete investigation to find answers as to why the company took so long to issue any sort of recall.  GM created a new position, vice president of global vehicle safety, to fix miscommunication between different parts of the company.

GM allegedly discovered the faulty ignition switch issue in a Saturn Ion in 2001.

Members also asked Friedman, from the NHTSA, why officials with the agency “overruled an agency employee who said a formal defect investigation of the switches should be started.”  Friedman said it didn’t “necessarily” indicate a defect. 

February 2014 GM Recall Expands Again

GM first issued a recall in February 2014, which included 778,562 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 cars from model years 2005 to 2007.  The recall was due to an issue with the ignition switch.

Then, on February 25th, 2014, GM expanded that recall from 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Pursuits sold only in Canada to now include 2003-2007 Saturn Ions; 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs; 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice; and 2007 Saturn Sky models.  It was reported that extra weight on the key ring would switch the ignition to the “off” position which would turn off the engine and other electrical components in the cars, including the airbags.

GM again expanded its recall list on March 28, 2014 to include all model years of the vehicles listed above sold in the U.S. between 2008 and 2011.  That number added up to 824,000 cars on top of the 1.4 million already recalled.  This additional recall was needed because the company said “faulty switches could have been installed as a repair after owners purchased one of the newer models.”

GM also recalled 172,000 Chevrolet Cruzes to fix an issue with “a right front axle half shaft.” 

So far in 2014, GM has recalled almost 7 million vehicles in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and vehicles exported outside of North America.

GM said it plans to begin repairs on the recalled vehicles on April 7, 2014.

If you have a recalled vehicle you should contact your dealership immediately.