General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is recalling more than 30,000 Chevrolet Cruze sedans in North America to fix faulty air bags that could potentially fail to inflate during an accident, and instead injure passengers with broken metal parts.
The recall covers cars from the 2013 and 2014 model years that included air bags built by Takata Corporation (TYO:7312), a Japanese parts maker. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, the affected cars came with a wrongly installed part called baffle, which “can result in the inflator rupturing during deployment and can lead to metal fragments striking occupants and no inflation of the air bag.”
Over the last five years, defective air bags made by Takata have resulted in recalls of as many as 10 million vehicles worldwide, the Wall Street Journal reported. Starting at a price tag of $18,000, the Cruze is GM's best-selling passenger car, according to the Journal, and last month, the company’s dealers in the U.S. sold an average of 1,200 new Cruze sedans a day.
GM’s latest recall is the aftermath of an accident in October 2013, which left Brandi Owens, a Georgia woman, blind in one eye. Owens filed a lawsuit against GM and Takata in April, in a federal court in Atlanta, claiming that her car and the driver-side air bag are “defective and unreasonably dangerous,” Reuters reported.
In documents filed with the NHTSA on Thursday, GM said that it had come to know about a lawsuit on May 1 regarding a Chevrolet Cruze with a faulty air bag. However, the company did not clarify if it was referring to the Owens case. On Wednesday, GM ordered its North American dealers to stop selling new and used Chevrolet Cruzes from the 2013 and 2014 model years.
“Certain vehicles may be equipped with a suspect driver’s air bag inflator module that may have been assembled with an incorrect part," GM said, in a statement.