General Motors (NYSE:GM) on Friday recalled nearly a million vehicles due to faulty ignition switches and confirmed the number of fatalities associated with the switches to 13, it said in statements.
The Detroit-based company announced that it expanded its ignition-switch recall to cover 824,000 newer models of the cars recalled in the U.S., in addition to the 971,000 recalled globally, bringing the total number of recalled cars to 2.6 million. The recalls now include all model years of Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Saturn Ion, Saturn Sky, Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Solstice made between 2003-2011.
“We are taking no chances with safety,” said GM’s CEO Mary Barra in the statement adding: “Trying to locate several thousand switches in a population of 2.2 million vehicles and distributed to thousands of retailers isn’t practical. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling the rest of the model years. We are going to provide our customers with the peace of mind they deserve and expect by getting the new switches into all the vehicles.”
GM has been facing a federal investigation in the way it handled the complaints on recalls, with the first one dating back as early as 2004. The investigation is also addressing the question of whether GM tried to mislead federal regulators about the extent of its problems that led to the production of faulty switches, which reportedly caused cars to shut down unexpectedly and disabled the airbags. Barra is scheduled to testify before congressional panels on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“GM knew this and they knew this a year ago,” said Lance Cooper, a Georgia attorney who represents a family whose daughter was killed in a Cobalt crash and earlier this week filed a lawsuit demanding the auto maker expand the recall, according to the Wall Street Journal.
GM had also recalled 1.5 million vehicles last week was prompted by its internal safety review after the company had recalled another 1.6 million vehicles in February. The recall of the faulty ignition switches had led to federal prosecutors investigating why the company did not react sooner to reports of problems such as the abrupt shutting down of a vehicle's engine and the failure of airbags to deploy in the event of a crash.