The problems continue to mount for embattled automaker General Motors stemming from its initial recall earlier this year. What started as a recall to fix potentially faulty ignition switches on 700,000 Chevy Cobalts built between 2005 and 2007 and 2007 Pontiac G5s has morphed into a recall that includes more than 1 million vehicles.
GM initially attributed six deaths and 22 crashes to the ignition switch issue, where cars became disabled while running when heavy key rings caused the ignition to go from “run” to “accessory”; thus causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and disabling the airbags that would protect the occupants in a crash.
However, that number increased as news spread about the potential for cars crashing due to the defect. GM added other vehicles to its recall notice, including the Chevy HHR, the Pontiac Solstice and the Saturn Sky.
Further, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it would be launching an investigation into how much GM knew about the defect and whether it should be held criminally liable for selling defective products. A USA Today report found that GM’s engineers complained about the issue in 2004 before the first Chevy Cobalts went on sale in 2005.
GM issued a public apology for not reporting the defect earlier, but it insists that it issued a service bulletin to its dealers advising them to be aware of the defect and to correct it when customers complained. Nevertheless, it would not be surprising to see additional lawsuits against GM based on this failure.
Source: USA Today.com “Feds open criminal probe of GM switch recall,” Fred Meier, James Healey and Todd Spangler, Mar. 11, 2014