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GM Expands Recall Ahead of CEO Mary Barra’s Testimony

April 1, 2014

Ahead of General Motors CEO Mary Barra’s congressional and Senate testimony regarding the handling of the defective ignition switch recall, the Detroit-based automaker further expanded its already massive recall.

The Detroit News reported last Friday that GM expanded the ignition switch recall to include the later model year versions of the vehicles that were among the first batch recalled in February. These are the following: 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2008-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2008-2010 Pontiac Solstice, 2008-2010 Pontiac G5 and 2008-2010 Saturn Sky. The previously announced recall only covered vehicles through model year 2007.

According to GM, it is recalling the aforementioned vehicles to replace the ignition switches because defective parts may have been used to repair them. The automaker sold an estimated 95,000 of the faulty ignition switches to dealers and aftermarket wholesalers, and approximately 90,000 of those were used to repair older vehicles prior to the February recall.

Because GM thinks “it is not feasible to track down all the parts,” the company decided to recall the potentially affected vehicles to guarantee that all of them will have the current ignition switch.

“We are taking no chances with safety,” said Barra in a statement. “Trying to locate several thousand switches in a population of 2.2 million vehicles and distributed to thousands of retailers isn’t practical. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling the rest of the model years.”

“We are going to provide our customers with the peace of mind they deserve and expect by getting the new switches into all the vehicles,” she added.

This recall affects 824,000 vehicles in the United States and 147,000 units across the globe.

Also being recalled are 490,200 units of GM’s new pickups and SUVs. The affected vehicles are the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and XL SUVs with a six-speed automatic transmission.

In a press release, GM said that the aforementioned batch of pickups and SUVs may have a loose oil cooler line in their transmissions which could result in the oil coming in contact with a hot surface and in turn cause the vehicle to catch fire. The company said that it is aware of three incidents where the loose transmission lines caused problems but there were no injuries.

Last Friday, GM also sent out a stop-sale letter to its U.S. dealers to halt the sale of the 2013 and 2014 model year Chevrolet Cruze sedans with 1.4-liter turbo gasoline engines. A GM spokesman confirmed the stop-sale, but did not give a reason for the order.

The same sedans were also ordered to be recalled the same day to have the half shafts replaced. According to GM, the Cruzes had “a right front axle half shaft that can fracture and separate without warning during normal driving.”

“If a vehicle with a fractured half shaft is parked on an incline without the parking brake applied, the vehicle could move unexpectedly, resulting in a possible crash or injury to pedestrians,” GM said in a statement.

As part of its efforts to address quality problems, the automaker also recalled for the first time the Cadillac ELR electric car. This recall involves 656 units in the U.S. and seven in Canada, all of which were manufactured between September 26, 2013 and February 14, 2014 and are without adaptive cruise control.

These Cadillac cars need a fix because of incorrect calibrations in their stability control system. The system may not alert the driver that the electronic stability control (ESC) system is disabled, increasing the risk of a crash. GM will address the problem by recalibrating the Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM).

A day before Barra is set to testify before Congress, GM issues yet another recall, this time in order to fix power steering issues. According to NBC News, the affected vehicles are the following: 2004-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, and some 2006, 2008, and 2009 models; 2004-2005 and some 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx; some 2010 model year non-turbo Chevrolet HHR; some of the 2010 model Chevrolet Cobalt; some 2008 and 2009 model year Saturn Aura; all 2004-2007 Saturn Ion; and the entire 2005 model year Pontiac G6 and some 2006, 2008, and 2009 vehicles.

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