General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) has recalled more than 29 million cars this year as part of a massive mea culpa in the wake of a fatal ignition switch flaw the company took years to acknowledge. Now, the world’s third-largest automaker by sales has expanded its recall-related website to include specific ignition-switch information, categorized by brand and model year.
At the same time, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched late Tuesday a new Web feature allowing car owners to look up recall status for specific vehicles as manufacturers are recalling more cars than at any other time in automotive history. All manufacturers selling cars and motorcycles in the U.S. are required as of Wednesday to have similar search capabilities. Many companies, including Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F), have had these search functions on their sites for years, but now they could face regulatory pressure for not having them.
The feature provides information based on the Vehicle Identification Numbers and gives drivers and passengers “the peace of mind knowing that the vehicle they own, or that they are thinking of buying or renting, is free of safety defects,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman said.
Friedman said about a fourth of all recalled cars in the U.S. remain unfixed 18 months after a recall is announced, putting drivers, passengers and other motorists at risk. Earlier this year the NHTSA required automakers to use a uniform red label on all recall notices mailed to consumers as part of this effort to urge car owners to get their vehicles repaired.
As part of GM’s expanded recall efforts, CEO Mary Barra sent letters to 1.9 million car owners who have yet to bring their vehicles in to fix potentially dangerous ignition switch problems where the key can slip out of the “on” position while the car is in motion.
Here are the VIN search links for the top automakers representing more than 85 percent of all U.S. cars, trucks and SUVs sold in the country: