NEW YORK (TIP):
General Motors recalled 824,000 more cars for possible problems with ignitions that have led to more than 30 accidents and 12 deaths. Last month, GM called back 1.6 million cars amid questions over why it took years to address a defect it knew about as early as 2001. GM said there was no evidence of fatalities from ignition-related incidents in the new group of cars being called back — Chevrolet Cobalts and HHRs, Pontiac Solstices and G5s, and Saturn Skys for 2008-2010 model years. But it said about 90,000 of the faulty ignitions were in the 2005-2007 models used as replacements in cars covered in the new recall. GM said it needed to check all of the cars in the new action to see which ones had the replacement ignitions.
“We are taking no chances with safety,” GM’s chief executive Mary Barra said 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.” GM is under investigation by the US Justice Department and by Congress over its admitted mishandling of the problem with the ignitions, which by one count have caused hundreds of accidents. GM itself received hundreds of consumer complaints over the problem between 2005 and now, which showed that while driving the ignition could suddenly move into “accessory” or “off” position, cutting off electronic systems including the airbags.
In the fatal accidents recorded, front seat airbags did not deploy. GM is now facing lawsuits over the issue, and earlier this week Senator Richard Blumenthal urged the Justice Department to create a fund for accident victims, arguing that the automaker “criminally deceived” the public. Blumenthal expressed concern that GM may be shielded from legal responsibility for events prior to its 2009 government-assisted bankruptcy reorganization. “Given the crucial role the United States government played in creation of the current General Motors Corporation, I believe the federal government has a moral, if not legal, obligation to take all necessary steps to protect innocent consumers,” he said.