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General Motors Recalls Midsize SUVs for Fire Risk

General Motors is recalling another 230,000 midsize SUVs for a potential fire risk. According to an NBC news report, the recall expands upon an action GM took last August covering about 250,000 vehicles including the Chevy Trailblazer and GMC envoy. The auto recall is serious enough that the automaker is advising owners to park these vehicles outside until repairs can be made.

According to the automaker, the problem involves a master power door and window module located in the driver’s door. Over time, moisture can leak in and corrode electrical connections. If this happens, the module can short circuit and overheat, which in turn can lead to the smell of smoke, or in some cases, a fire. So far, there have been as many as 58 fires reported as a result of these defective GM door modules.

Auto defects can be very serious and result in more than just minor injuries and inconvenience. Auto defect lawyer Brian Chase received a $24 million dollar verdict for his client when her seat collapsed causing her lifetime injuries.

 Expansion of an Earlier Recall

While the original recall last August involved 250,000 vehicles in 20 snow-belt states and the District of Columbia, the new recall covers an additional 193,000 of the SUVs sold in the U.S. and another 38,000 sold in Canada and Mexico. Vehicles covered by this safety recall include the 2006 Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL; 2006 and 2007 Chevy Trailblazer, GMC Envoy and Buick Rainier; and 2006 and 2007 Saab 9-7X and Isuzu Ascender. When the recall begins, owners will be notified, and dealers will apply a moisture protection coating on the switch module. If needed, they will replace the component at no charge to consumers.

 The Issue of Sharing Parts Suppliers

A number of other vehicle manufacturers have apparently had similar issues with defective window switch control modules largely due to the practice of sharing parts suppliers. So far, the biggest recall related to the problem involves Toyota, which recalled 7.5 million vehicles in October that covered 2.5 million vehicles in the United States. Also, recently several automakers had to recall vehicles for defective airbags manufactured by Takata Inc., the second largest supplier of airbags in the world.

This recall is yet another example of how sharing parts suppliers can be economical for automakers, but tend to eventually shortchange the consumers. It cannot be economical for automakers either if they have to issue a recall. But recalls are rare. Not all defective vehicles are recalled. Ultimately, it is the consumer who pays the price of faulty vehicles and substandard parts.

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