GM Recalls Safety Scandal. To date, the ongoing General Motors safety scandal has led to a total of 28 million vehicle recalls, 13 deaths and 31 crashes tied to one recall, and three deaths, eight injuries, and seven crashes potentially tied to the most recent recall. Some of the recalls involve issues with ignition switches installed in GM vehicles. The debacle has also led to mounting lawsuits, Congressional probes, a total of $2.5 billion in total recall expenses for 2014, a massive internal probe, and a victims’ fund.
Some of the recalled ignition switches were worked on by former GM engineer, Ray DeGiorgio, who is at the center of the 2.59 million compact car recall in early 2014, and which has been associated with 13 deaths, according to a GM spokesman. An internal probe has led to additional recalls and staff terminations.
A prior report conducted by The New York Times found that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that, since February 2003, it received about two complaints per month over potentially dangerous vehicle shutdowns.
Our firm is pursuing lawsuits on behalf of individuals, or their loved ones, who have been injured or killed in crashes involving defective GM ignition switches.
GM Timeline: 2001-2014
- Engineers at GM discovered an issue involving the Saturn Ion’s ignition switches, specifically, the mechanism meant to hold the ignition key in place. GM indicated that an internal report revealed that the issue was solved when the switch was redesigned.
- A GM service technician observes a Saturn Ion stall when driven with “several other keys on the key ring” and indicated in his report that “the additional weight of the keys had worn out the ignition switch,” CNN reported.
- A Chevrolet Cobalt suddenly loses power when a GM engineer bumps the key.
- GM receives additional reports of Chevrolet Cobalts losing power when keys are unintentionally bumped or moved out of the “Run” position.
- Engineers suggest that the key head be redesigned to ensure that items hanging from the key are less likely to knock the key. At first approved, the proposal was later canceled. GM documents indicate, in part, that the fix would be too expensive to implement.
- Delphi, which manufacturers the switch, proposes an ignition design change. Although a GM engineer approves the changes and the new part enters production, there is no change to the part number; therefore, most GM employees do not know about the correction.
- GM dealers distribute “key inserts” so that the key’s movement is limited. The distribution involves 474 owners of vehicle models that are later recalled.
- GM starts its installation of the newly redesigned switch on its 2007 model year cars.
- In an unrelated meeting with auto safety regulators, GM staff are advised of a deadly 2005 Cobalt crash in which airbags did not deploy.
- A GM engineer is assigned to review Cobalt front crashes in which airbags failed to deploy to determine if any potential common characteristics exists. In four of nine crashes, the ignition was not in the “Run” position at impact.
- An NHTSA official is urged to initiate a probe after “a pattern of reported (airbag) non-deployments” involving Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions is seen, CNN reports. The NHTSA official was prevented from implementing the investigation by others members of the department who did not feel that action was warranted.
- By the end of the year, GM is aware of 10 deadly Cobalt accidents in which airbags failed to deploy.
- A new probe into front crashes involving Cobalts and Pontiac G5s is initiated and involves situations in which airbags did not deploy. Ignition switches are removed from cars in salvage yards and tested.
- Engineers determine that every crash in which the ignition was switched out of the “Run” position involved cars from 2007 model year and earlier.
- GM investigators find that ignition switches in cars that were built in later years are less likely to move out of position when compared to ignitions in earlier models.
- GM hires outside engineers to conduct a full study of ignition switches from cars made before and after 2007. The engineers find that changes were made to the ignition switch after the cars went into production.
- A GM committee is asked to consider a recall of Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 cars, model years 2007 and earlier.
- February 7: GM initiates a recall involving nearly 800,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles.
- February 24: GM adds 600,000 Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky vehicles to the recall.
- February 27: U.S. auto safety regulators announce an investigation to determine if GM responded in a timely manner to the ignition switch problem.
- March 4: GM CEO Mary Barra defends GM’s handling of the recall and promises to conduct an internal review, saying, “We will hold ourselves accountable and improve our processes so our customers do not experience this again,” reports CNN. Barra also says that repairs to recalled cars are expected to begin in early April 2014.
- March 10: GM hires two external legal firms to assist with its internal probe.
- March 12: The Justice Department launches a criminal probe into delays surrounding the recall, says a source familiar with the matter, CNN reports.
- March 17: In another Barra statement she describes the matter as a tragic situation in which “terrible things happened,” adding that GM will change how it handles recalls. Repairs “should start” the second week of April 2014, says Barra.
- March 28: GM broadens the ignition switch recall to include 824,000 cars sold in the United States between 2008 and 2011. Barra announces that the switch recall now includes 2.6 million cars worldwide. GM also confirms that another death is associated with the ignition switch problem, bringing the total number of fatalities to 13.
- April 1 & 2: Barra and NHTSA acting administrator, David Friedman, testify before Congress. Barra testifies that the car maker does not know why it took one decade to implement a recall and reveals that GM hired attorney Ken Feinberg, known for determining how to compensate victims of tragedies. Feinberg worked on compensation funds for victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the BP oil spill, and the Boston Marathon bombing. NHTSA’s Friedman testifies that GM neglected to provide the agency with the information it needed.
- April 7: GM dealers begin recall repairs. GM advises customers to make dealer appointments and that repairs are free to vehicle owners.
- April 10: GM discovers another ignition flaw in 2.6 million vehicles that had been recalled, announcing that it will replace an additional part to make the correction.
- April 16: Two GM engineers are put on paid leave.
- April 22: GM restructures its engineering and quality departments. The move, GM indicates, may have prevented its current recall crisis.
- May 15: GM recalls 3 million additional cars for a wiring issue. Most of the cars were built before the automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy.
- May 16: GM agrees to pay a $35 million fine to settle a federal probe into the decade-long ignition switch recall delay.
- May 20: GM recalls 2.4 million additional vehicles. The recall includes late model editions of the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia, over faulty seatbelts and transmissions.
- May 21: GM recalls another 218,000 Chevy Aveos over risks of overheating and fires.
- May 23: Six weeks following implementation of its repair program, 2 percent of the 2.6 million GM cars have been repaired over the ignition switch defect. Suzuki recalls 184,000 cars that GM built for it in South Korea and which were sold in the United States.
- June 5: GM’s internal probe reveals a company-wide “pattern of incompetence and neglect.” Barra announces that she dismissed 15 employees and disciplined 5 more. GM also indicates that the number of deaths associated with its defective ignition switch may exceed 13.
- June 13: GM recalls another 512,000 cars. Most are Camaros that may accidently shut off while driving due to a faulty key.
- July 1: GM announces that it will take a $1.2 billion charge in the second quarter for recall-related expenses, bringing the total recall expense for the year to $2.5 billion. According to The Associated Press, Barra announces that, “If any other issues come to our attention, we will act appropriately and without hesitation.” The firm urges consumers to remove everything but the cars’ key from their key rings until the recalled cars are repaired.
Recalled GM Vehicles
Following is a comprehensive list of GM vehicles recalled in 2014 up to June 30, 2014:
Unintended ignition key rotation
- 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2007 Pontiac G5
- 2006-2006 Chevrolet HHR
- 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
- 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice
- 2007 Saturn Sky
- 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu
- 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue
- 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero
- 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am
- 2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala
- 2000-2004 Monte Carlo
- 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
- 2003-2004 Cadillac CTS
- 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX
Engine block heater power cord (when equipped) may be damaged in very cold conditions
- 2011-2014 Chevrolet Cruze
- 2012-2014 Chevrolet Sonic
- 2013-2014 Chevrolet Trax
- 2013-2014 Buick Encore
- 2013-2014 Verano
“Superhold” joint fastener may not have been torqued to specification at the assembly plant
- 2014 Chevrolet Camaro
- 2014 Impala
- 2014 Buick Regal
- 2014 Cadillac XTS
Feed overload may cause the underhood fusible link to melt due to electric overload
(may cause potential smoke, flames that may damage the electrical center cover and/or the nearby wiring harness conduit)
- 2007-2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- GMC Sierra HD (equipped with an auxiliary battery)
Potential Electrical Short
(possibly in the driver’s door module that may disable the power door lock and window switches and, rarely, overheat the module)
- 2007-2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD
- 2005-2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer
- 2005-2007 GMC Envoy
- 2005-2007 Iszu
- 2005-2007 Ascender
- 2005-2007 Saab 9-7x
- 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT
- 2006 GMC Envoy XL
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