General Motors has issued a massive auto defect recall for about 3.4 million cars because the ignition switches in these vehicles can move out of position if they are carrying too much weight. According to an ABC news report, GM issued a statement that the switches could rotate out of “run” if the key has excess weight and the car “experiences some jarring event” such as hitting a pothole or crossing a railroad track.
This can cause the engines to shut off and the power steering to become disabled, as a result of which drivers can lose control of the vehicle. Also, if this happens, the airbags will not work. This recall affects several models from 2000 to 2014.
Defective Key Design
GM is already recalling 2.4 million older small cars for a similar problem with defective ignitions. In the case of the earlier recall in January, the problem was with the mechanics of the ignition switch. In this week’s recall, GM says the issue is with the design of the key. The ignition defects, which led to the recall of 2.4 million small cars in January, were linked to 54 crashes and 13 deaths, including that of Shara Lynn Towne, who is the first known victim of the GM ignition defects. BISNAR | CHASE represented Towne’s family members in the wrongful death lawsuit against GM.
The vehicle models involved in the recall include Buick Lacrosse (2005-2009), Chevrolet Impala (2006-2014), Cadillac Deville (2000-2005), Cadillac DTS (2004-2011), Buick Lucerne (2006-2011), Buick Regal LS & GS (2004-2005) and the Chevy Monte Carlo (2006-2008). GM says when the recall begins, dealers will add an insert to the car keys to change the hole from a slot to a circle. Until these repairs are made, car owners are asked to remove everything from their key chains and only drive with the key in the ignition. Monday’s recall brings the number of GM vehicles recalled this year to 17.7 million in the United States and more than 20 million worldwide.
What Are the Real Damages Here?
Trial lawyers are already saying that the true death toll of the GM ignition defect issue is more than 60. Investigations are showing that GM knew about the ignition defects in 2004 or earlier, but took no action. A fix would have cost the company under $1 per vehicle. GM is facing a criminal investigation as well as a $35 million government fine. We do not know how many people were injured or killed as the result of this defective key design, which caused the engine to stall and airbags to fail. How long has GM known about these ignition defects that were unveiled to the public just today? We certainly hope there is an investigation into these key design defects and whether GM has had a longtime culture of putting profits over people.