GM Recalls More Vehicles with Unsafe Ignition Switches

by | Jun 27, 2014 | Car Accident, Product Liability

Oklahoma product liability lawyer

General Motors is recalling more cars to correct a problem like the one that led to the recall of 2.19 million small cars in the U.S. earlier this year.

The company announced the recall of 3.16 million midsize and large cars to repair ignition switches, USA Today reports. GM said eight crashes and six injuries were linked to the ignition switch issue in the models being recalled, but it was aware of no deaths.

The models included in the latest recall include:

  • Chevrolet Impala—2006-2014
  • Chevrolet Monte Carlo—2006-2008
  • Cadillac Deville—2000-2005
  • Cadillac DTS—2004-2011
  • Buick Lacrosse—2005-2009
  • Buick Lacerne—2006-2011
  • Buick Regal LS and GS—2004-2005

The auto manufacturer previously recalled 2.19 million small vehicles, including the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. Defective ignition switches in those vehicles could cause engine shutoff and failure of airbags to deploy. GM has acknowledged that the defect caused 54 car crashes and 13 deaths.

Weight on Keys

In the most recent recall, GM said the same problem could occur if the key is carrying extra weight and is jarred while a car is in operation

The ignition switches were approved by the same engineer – now fired – who was in charge when bad switches were installed in the cars involved in the earlier recall.

A recent congressional hearing brought to light crucial information surrounding the company’s awareness of the manufacturing defect, according to a report by USA Today.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, pointed to an email from a GM engineer to the now-fired chief switch engineer regarding a “Hot alert for the 2006 Chevy Impala Special.” The engineer said in the email that she was driving a car when the ignition switch rotated out of the “run” position when she hit a pothole, killing the engine and making a car behind her swerve to avoid a collision.

A GM technician who drove the car and had the same problem determined the switch wasn’t strong enough to hold the “run” position. In a series of emails, the engineer who experienced the engine shutdown called it a “serious safety problem” and suggested a “big recall.” But the chief switch engineer responded that there had been no similar reports of that problem.

Trust Issue

GM says it is making a major effort to remedy past failures and avoid future problems. As a result, the company has recalled 20 million vehicles worldwide.

Oddly enough, the company doesn’t plan on fixing the switches in this latest recall. Instead, it will fill in a slot in the key’s head, leaving a hole only for small key rings to keep car owners from attaching bulky items to the key.

The automaker says that will reduce leverage and cut down the odds that the key will turn off if it is jarred. Until the key repair is made, GM is urging owners to remove all items from the key.

When manufacturers are aware of safety issues and do not act to correct them or provide adequate warning to prevent injuries, they should be held accountable. Defective ignition switches are a product liability issue and families harmed by a defective product may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries.