General Motors Co. has recalled another 1.6 million vehicles expanding an earlier ignition switch recall to a total of 4.8 million vehicles.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the automaker announced the first recall linked to this issue in February after the faulty ignitions were connected to 13 deaths.
The most recent recall involves six cars: the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky.
The recall also comes days before GM’s CEO Mary Barra is set to be grilled by lawmakers over the company’s handling of safety defects.
Congressional Hearings Scheduled
House and Senate subcommittees have hearings scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday as they will look into why the automaker waited nearly a decade after its engineers discovered the ignition switch defect to order repairs for vehicles on the road.
Lawmakers say they are also eager to find out why the federal agency that regulated auto safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) did not act more quickly on the problem.
The ignition switches in question can move out of the “run” position and cause the car’s engine to stall. It can also knock out power steering and power brakes, making the vehicle harder to maneuver, and disable the airbags.
GM has said the defect is linked to at least 12 deaths in cars from the 2003-2007 models years. On Friday, the company said it is not aware of any fatalities connected to the defect in the 2008-2011 models.
The Need for Answers
GM CEO Mary Barra continues to tell reporters that consumer safety is her primary concern. But so far, we’ve seen that GM’s priority has been anything but consumer safety.
Media reports have consistently stated that GM knew about these ignition defects for a decade – even as it was blowing off injured victims and families of deceased victims who were asking for answers.
GM failed to do the right thing – to be honest with consumers and give them the answers they rightfully deserved.
GM not only failed to compensate injured victims and their families who had been seriously affected by their defective vehicles, but also threatened and bullied them with legal action.
We certainly hope that the Congressional hearings, the civil and criminal investigations bring out more facts about this case and bring much-needed clarifications and answers to victims and their families.