Monday, March 24, 2014

GM Ignition Switch Defect Continues

        Hundreds of thousands of possibly defective GM vehicles still on the road. USA Today (3/22, Healey, Meier, 5.82M) reports online about the “hundreds of thousands of General Motors cars” still on the road even though they have “the same steering system that prompted a big Chevrolet Cobalt recall four years ago,” and “even though federal safety officials say they have duplicated the Cobalt defect in the non-recalled Saturn Ion.” NHTSA states it has been “actively investigating the potential safety defect” with power steering in Ions from 2004 to 2007 “and will take appropriate action based on the agency’s findings.” provided its own analysis to USA Today and “found 335,204 of those Saturns still are on the road.” Another statement from NHTSA yesterday, however, said that “there are additional external factors to consider even when evaluating the same component in different vehicles, such as wheelbase, size of the tires, weight of the vehicle – all of which can affect the steering.”
        Fox Business (3/21, Flock, 113K) reports that the fact that GM has recalled 3.2 million vehicles for ignition switch trouble, air bag issues, brake problems, and questionable front-end impact tests “hasn’t stopped some dealers from selling the flagged cars.” FOX News (3/21, 6.72M) also reports in a separate story.
        A report for NPR (3/22, Glinton, 260K) notes that “the number of vehicles recalled has more than doubled over the past 20 years — but most recalls go unnoticed by the general public.” Edmunds Vice President Scott Oldham comments, “I don’t think there’s a manufacturer out there that isn’t executing a recall at any given time.”

        Bloomberg News (3/22, 392K) reports on one of GM’s chief design engineers Gary Altman, who told “more than a dozen managers” in some time “around 2000” that “they needed to find other ways to reduce costs” on Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, “including a suggestion to pull parts from existing models.” The report thus summarizes Altman’s advice as “build them for less.” The report continues, the Cobalts and Ions “were the product of a culture of cutting costs and squeezing suppliers.” 

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