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GM Issues Recall on Buick Enclaves Sold in China

March 25, 2014
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General Motors Co.’s global recall continues, and now includes Buick Enclaves sold in China. The vehicles are recalled due to airbag defects, the same issue that affected more than 1.2 million other vehicles.

The announcement was made by China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The quality watchdog reported the recall through a statement in its website.

The recall, which involves some of the Buick Enclaves built between 2008 and 2013, will be done by Shanghai General Motors. Shanghai General Motors is a joint venture between GM and China’s SAIC Motors Corp Ltd.

The affected vehicles will be fixed in order to address an issue that could potentially result in the nondeployment of side airbags.

In the past two months, GM has recalled over 3.1 million vehicles in the United States and other markets. The recall was prompted by an ignition switch problem, which is linked to 12 traffic deaths.

Among those recalled are 1.18 million mid-sized crossovers affected by the airbag issue. These include some vehicles from the 2008 and 2009 model years, as well as all Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia crossovers from model years 2010 to 2013. Also included are some 2009 and all 2010 to 2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossovers, as well as some 2008-2009 and all 2010 Saturn Outlook crossovers.

GM is under scrutiny for issuing a recall over a decade after it has identified a problem with the ignition switches. The defective switches, when jostled, turn from ‘run’ to ‘accessory,’ which prevents the deployment of air bags. This problem resulted in at least 31 crashes and claimed the lives of 12 people, including teenagers. The massive and long overdue recall has lead to two congressional investigations.

Mary Barra, who only recently assumed the post of Chief Executive at GM, has issued an apology in a video message to GM employees. “Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened,” she admitted. “We will be better because of this tragic situation if we seize the opportunity. And I believe we will do just that.”

In an article written for USA Today, Barra apologized again. “Everyone at GM regrets that it took so long to confirm the problem associated with the Cobalt and similar models and issue a recall. We are deeply sorry for the lives lost and the lives it has affected,” she wrote.

She then owns the responsibility, despite being the automaker’s CEO for only two months: “This issue goes back ten years and involved vehicles we no longer make, but I take responsibility for resolving it on behalf of our customers, our employees and the authorities.”

Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also under fire for not acting sooner and not pressuring GM to issue a recall way back in 2007. Reuters recently reported that the agency, which only started investigating the carmaker’s handling of the safety problems, is under scrutiny for failing to identify the defects sooner.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx defended the NHTSA, which is under the department he oversees, saying that information about the ignition switch was “inconclusive” and did not “point to an investigation.”

Photo credit: buick.com

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