GM widens ig­ni­tion re­call by 971,000 to 2.59m cars

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

DETRIOT: Gen­eral Mo­tors Co. (GM) is ex­pand­ing the re­call of small-car ig­ni­tion switches by 971,000 ve­hi­cles world­wide to cover 2008 to 2011 ve­hi­cles that were built with safe parts yet may have re­ceived faulty re­place­ments. It also in­creased the death toll linked to the switches.

The re­call brings the to­tal to 2.59 mil­lion small cars and now in­cludes 2008 to 2010 Chevro­let Cobalts and Pon­tiac G5s, Pon­tiac Sol­stices, Saturn Ions and Saturn Skys and 2008 to 2011 Chevro­let HHRs, Jim Cain, a GM spokesman in Detroit, said yes­ter­day in a tele­phone in­ter­view. The ex­panded re­call comes on top of 1.62 mil­lion cars re­called last month for faulty ig­ni­tion switches linked to the deaths of 12 people.

Alan Adler, a GM spokesman, said yes­ter­day in an e-mail that the num­ber of deaths linked to the switches rose to 13 people from 12 with a 2013 fa­tal­ity in a 2007 Cobalt in Que­bec. No deaths or in­juries have been as­so­ci­ated with the newly re­called mod­els, Cain said.

While the sec­ond ex­pan­sion of the re­call is un­likely to re­place many de­fec­tive parts, it helps demon­strate GM's mor­ere­spon­sive ap­proach to any cus­tomer risk, said Karl Brauer, se­nior an­a­lyst at Kel­ley Blue Book. Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Mary Barra is slated to tes­tify at U.S. House and Se­nate hear­ings April 1 and 2 about why it took so long to fix the cars.

"The first im­pres­sion is: Geez, these guys have re­calls go­ing on like crazy," Brauer said yes­ter­day in a tele­phone in­ter­view. "But their ap­proach to the whole thing is that we're be­ing ul­tra-cau­tious be­cause that's what the new GM is when it comes to safety is­sues and ve­hi­cle de­fects."

About 95,000 faulty switches were sold to deal­ers and af­ter-mar­ket whole­salers with about 90,000 used for re­pairs, said Cain, the spokesman.

"Most of those went into ve­hi­cles that have al­ready been re­called," he said. "We're not go­ing to take any chances, we're go­ing to bring them all back."

In the U.S. alone, the re­call is be­ing ex­panded by 824,000 cars to a to­tal of 2.2 mil­lion, GM said in a state­ment yes­ter­day. GM's Euro­pean unit ex­panded its re­call of the Opel GT by 5,150 ve­hi­cles af­ter re­call­ing the sports car from the 2008 to 2010 model years.

"We know that these ve­hi­cles were built with good switches but what we don't know: Were any of them re­paired with a bad switch," Cain said. "So out of an abun­dance of cau­tion we're just go­ing to re­place the switches in all of them."

In ad­di­tion to the con­gres­sional hear­ings, GM is con­duct­ing an in­ter­nal re­view and the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion also is in­ves­ti­gat­ing. The U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment has be­gun a probe, a per­son fa­mil­iar with that ac­tion said ear­lier.

"We are tak­ing no chances with safety," Barra said in yes­ter­day's state­ment. "Try­ing to lo­cate sev­eral thou­sand switches in a pop­u­la­tion of 2.2 mil­lion ve­hi­cles and dis­trib­uted to thou­sands of re­tail­ers isn't prac­ti­cal."

Barra has said she was told about an anal­y­sis of stalling cars in De­cem­ber, weeks be­fore she be­came CEO Jan. 15, and was in­formed on Jan. 31 of the de­ci­sion by a GM com­mit­tee to re­call. "I want to start by say­ing again how sorry I am per­son­ally and how sorry Gen­eral Mo­tors is for what has hap­pened," Barra, 52, said at the com­pany's Detroit head­quar­ters. "Clearly lives have been lost and fam­i­lies are af­fected, and that is very se­ri­ous. We want to just ex­tend our deep con­do­lences for ev­ery­one's losses."

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