General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) announced Friday it will recall almost 60,000 Chevy Malibu midsized sedans to fix window defrosters and power-seat wiring that has the potential to catch fire.
The recall is unusual because it covers recent rather than past models, including about 44,000 2014 Malibus in North America, most of them in the U.S., for the defroster malfunction and almost 15,000 2013 models of the same car for the seat wiring problem.
The defrost problem is computer-related: A driver could set the control to defrost, but a glitch could cause the system to ignore the command. Under certain conditions this would cause the windshield to frost up and the driver would have to stop for lack of visibility.
The seat wiring problem, also affecting North American-sold Malibus, is mechanical rather than software-related. Wires that control seat settings, such as the seat’s pitch or the distance between the driver and the steering wheel, can rub against the seat’s metal frame. Not only could this cause a short circuit and fire as the wires’ insulation is rubbed off but it could also cause the seat to move autonomously if certain wires become crossed at places where the insulation has worn away.
There have been no reported crashes or injuries, GM said Friday, but there have been two minor fires related to the seat problem; in both cases the fires did slight damage to unattended vehicles.
GM dealers have been instructed to inspect and repair the problem – without charge to customers, of course.