In what many observers see as an unprecedented move, General Motors is recalling more than 1.5 million vehicles for faulty ignition switches that the company admits may have been responsible for fatalities. The recall, announced Monday, is in addition to the recall announced last month involving 1.6 million automobiles.
General Motors has recalled more than three million vehicles in the last two months, for a range of problems that include faulty brake parts, ignition switches and defective airbag mechanisms. The recalls are not restricted to any particular model, but include almost all of the company’s brands. There has been some indication given as to the costs of the recalls, and the company is expected to take a charge of $300 million in the first quarter.
In a video message published online, newly appointed company CEO Mary Barra stated that there was a serious malfunction in the manufacturing process. She also announced that the company will change the way that defects and recalls are handled. Barra apologized for the company’s failure to catch the defect, and states that a comprehensive internal review is being conducted. The faulty ignition switch appears to be dated, and the ongoing ordeal for the company involves many older models, such as the 2003 Saturn Ion and the 2005 Chevy Cobalt. The process has also led to class-action lawsuits in both Canada and the United States, hearings with U.S. Congress, and criminal investigations.
When asked why the problem was not addressed before, Barra said the company became aware of the problem in 2001 , and is currently working with Delphi Automotive, the manufacturer of the ignition switches, to provide additional production capability so that replacements parts can be made available to customers, who will be notified by mail during the second week of April.
Included in the latest recalls of almost 1.6 million vehicles from General Motors are some of the company’s luxury sedans and new line of crossover SUVs, along with full-sized cargo vans. The mid-sized crossovers are being recalled to repair the side airbag mechanism, which results in faulty or non-deployment on impact.
Affected models include all Buick Enclaves and Acadia crossovers of the model years between 2010 to 2013, along with some units of the 2008 to 2009 model years. All units of the Chevrolet Traverses between the 2010 to 2013 model years, and all 2010 model year Saturn Outlooks were recalled. The majority of the vehicles were sold in the United States, but there are a few also in Mexico and in Canada.
The recall also includes more that 300,000 units of the Chevrolet Express and the full-sized Savana vans. The SUVs and vans are being recalled to replace plastic in the instrument panel that does not meet the federal guidelines for head impact. The affected vans from the 2009 through 2014 model years were sold mostly in the United States. Almost 64,000 units of the XTS luxury sedans of the 2013 and 2014 model years are being recalled for faulty brake wiring that may lead to overheating and possible engine fires.
General Motors has said that the recent recalls were a result of the new CEO’s initiative for a comprehensive safety review after the recall of the ignition switches. The recalls are among the biggest in the company’s history, and it may not be the last time that General Motors recalls more of its vehicles, as many more class action suits are expected within the next few days.
By Dale Davidson