GM Expands Recall To 428,000 Vehicles

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Takata, air bag maker
A man walks past a sign board of Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp's Annual General Meeting in Tokyo June 26, 2014.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM) issued four more safety recalls Friday afternoon, CNBC reports.

The recalls affect more than 428,000 vehicles in the U.S., including certain Chevy Cruzes, Corvettes, Silverados, Sierras, Tahoes and Suburbans. Some GMC Yukons were also included. Several thousand more vehicles are being recalled internationally.

According to a company release cited by CNBC:

  • 29,019 2013-14 Chevrolet Cruze sedans in the U.S. and 4,066 in Canada were recalled for the driver's side airbag inflator.
  • 392,459 full-size pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S., 53,607 in Canada and 20,874 sold elsewhere were recalled for transfer case control module software that needs to be recalibrated.
  • 4,794 2013-2014 Chevrolet Caprice police cars and 2014 Chevrolet SS sport sedans in the U.S. need windshield wiper module adjustment.
  • 1,939 2014 Chevy Corvettes sold in the U.S., 33 in Canada and 82 sold elsewhere were recalled for safety concerns over rear shock absorbers.

 

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Friday that an accident that left a Georgia woman blind in one eye and a subsequent lawsuit led to GM's earlier recall of about 33,000 Chevrolet Cruze sedans in North America for potentially defective air bags made by Takata Corp. This recall is part of the 428,000 figure cited above.

The lawsuit by Brandi Owens, filed in late April in federal court in Atlanta against GM and Takata, claims her car and driver-side air bag were "defective and unreasonably dangerous," citing a problem that has dogged Takata for several years -- air bag inflators that explode with too much force. More than 10.5 million vehicles with Takata air bags have been recalled globally. 

Owens, 25 at the time of the October 2013 accident, is seeking unspecified damages.

Owens' attorney declined to comment on the lawsuit. Takata's U.S. spokesman did not return calls and emails seeking comment.

In documents filed on Thursday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM said it had learned of a lawsuit on May 1 regarding a Chevrolet Cruze with an improperly deployed air bag. GM inspected the vehicle four days later and briefed officials at the U.S. safety agency in late May and twice in early June.

GM did not identify the lawsuit in its filing, but a source familiar with the matter said it was the Owens case.

NHTSA said it was aware of GM's recall to replace driver-side air bags in order to correct Takata inflators made with an incorrect part, "which can result in the inflator rupturing during deployment and can lead to metal fragments striking occupants and no inflation of the air bag."

Takata faces a growing number of recalls to fix air bags deemed at risk of exploding and shooting shrapnel at drivers and passengers.

This week, Honda Motor Co. and other Japanese automakers recalled almost 3 million cars globally for potentially defective air bags, and seven automakers recalled a smaller number in the United States to replace air bag inflators possibly damaged by humid conditions.

The U.S. recalls were the result of a probe NHTSA opened earlier this month into more than 1 million vehicles made by several automakers, after the safety agency received six reports of air bags not deploying properly in the humid climates of Florida and Puerto Rico.

Owens' accident was not cited in the agency's investigation documents. NHTSA said the Cruze inflators are a newer and different design than those used in the cars already being probed by the agency. NHTSA also said the Cruze recall was not related to the other U.S. recalls.

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