GM recalls 1.5 million more vehicles after ignition debacle

GM is recalling more than 1.5 million US vehicles in three separate incidents, the company announced Monday. Those recalls come shortly after the large-scale GM recall for an ignition issue that was linked to several deaths and prompted an ongoing federal investigation. 

Carlos Barria/Retuers/File
Chevrolet cars are seen at a GM dealership in Miami. General Motors announced three more recalls of 1.5 million vehicles sold in the US Monday, March 17, 2014.

Fresh off the fiasco that involved millions of recalled cars, passenger fatalities, and an ongoing Justice Department investigation, General Motors is facing another large-scale recall.  Three, actually.

The beleaguered automaker announced three separate recalls Monday affecting nearly 1.5 million vehicles made and sold in the United States. They are unrelated to GM’s earlier recall of 1.37 million vehicles for a faulty ignition switch. According to GM, the latest recalls came out of CEO Mary Barra’s order for a “comprehensive internal safety review” following a series of ignition switch recalls that began in February.

“I asked our team to redouble our efforts on our pending product reviews, bring them forward and resolve them quickly,” Ms. Barra said in a GM press statement announcing the recalls.  “That is what today’s GM is all about.”

In addition, GM said that it will use $300 million of its first quarter earnings to pay for today’s announced recalls, which include:

  •  303, 000 Chevorlet Express and GMC Savana vans with model years between 2009 and 2014 that weigh 10,000 pounds or less – vans generally used for commercial purposes and as passenger shuttles. Passengers in the front seats not wearing seat belts are at increased risk for head injuries because the material covering the airbags does not meet federal standards. To fix the issue, GM will rework the passenger instrument panel that houses the airbag.
  •  1.18 million Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia SUVs with model years between 2008 and 2013; Chevrolet Traverse SUVs with model years between 2009 and 2013, and Saturn Outlook SUVs with model years between 2010. “With respect to the Enclave, Traverse, Acadia and Outlook, the vehicles are equipped with a Service Air Bag warning light in the driver information center,” the GM statement reads. “Ignoring the Service Air Bag warning light will eventually result in the non-deployment of the side impact restraints, which include driver and passenger seat-mounted side air bags, front center air bag (if equipped), and the seat belt pretensioners.” Eventually, GM says, the wiring could fail and cause the airbags to stop working. The repair will involve removing the airbag harness connectors and soldering the wires together.
  • 63,900 Cadillac XTS full-size sedans from the 2013 and 2014 model years with faulty brake booster pumps that could result in engine compartment fires.

No timeline for customer notifications and repairs was given, though in the case of the Express and Savana vans GM said that  “Unsold vehicles have been placed on a stop delivery until development of the solution has been completed and parts are available. Customers will be notified at that time. Repairs will be made at no charge to customers.”

Recalls aren’t generally welcome news for a company, but GM’s announcement could be an attempt at damage control, painting the automaker as diligent and highly concerned with customer safety after recent events have suggested the opposite. The earlier ignition switch recall came after GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it had been investigating ignition problems for nearly a decade. Over the weekend, a class-action lawsuit on behalf of vehicle owners was filed in Texas seeking $6 billion to $10 billion from GM over the ignition problem. Thirteen deaths and 31 accidents have been linked to that defect, according to the company.

General Motors shares were up slightly in afternoon trading Monday.  

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