By on February 27, 2014

2010-chevrolet-cobalt-pic-25714

“The process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been. We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can.” – Alan Batey,  president of General Motors North America

Yesterday, GM expanded their ignition switch recall to include the other models mentioned in the #05-02-35-007A Technical Information Service Bulletin (“ISB”). These include:

  • 2005 – 2007 Chevrolet HHR
  • 2006 – 2007 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2003 – 2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2007  Saturn Sky

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also launching a probe into why GM took so long to issue a recall. GM also released their chronology of the ignition cylinder issue and years of investigation to TTAC, which we will break down for your digestion along with the full text, after the jump.

You can read the full text here. Be warned, it’s over 2,300 words long. Here’s a detailed summary of the events:

2004

GM became aware of the issue around the time of the Cobalt launch, when GM learned of one incident where a Cobalt was turn off when the key was inadvertently knocked out of run. GM was able to replicate the issue, and an engineering query was started. Known as the Problem Resolution Tracking System inquiry (“PRTS”), it’s GM’s process for studying defects, finding a solution to the defect, and deciding whether or not the solution should be implemented.

“Engineers believed that low key cylinder torque effort was an issue and considered a number of potential solutions. After consideration of the lead time required, cost, and effectiveness of each of these solutions, the PRTS was closed with no action.”

2005

More incidents were reported to GM of the Cobalt’s ignition cylinder being easily knocked out of “run.” In a PRTS opened in May of 2005, an engineer suggested that the Cobalt’s key slot be changed into a holeThough the initial proposal was approved, the change was later canceled. This lead to the first ISB  #05-02-35-007 in December 2005, which included all of the models (Except for the Saturn Sky, which had not been released just yet) listed above in the current recall , but only up to the 2006 Model Year (“MY”). GM was aware of accidents that had occured before the ISB was issued, and responded to them in the New York Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and The Daily Item (Sunbury, PA) according to the report.

The ISB was later updated to include MY 2007, and the MY 2007 Saturn Sky, which is the copy TTAC obtained last week.

“GM concluded in December 2005 that the Service Bulletin and field service campaign was the appropriate response to the reported incidents, given that the car’s steering and braking systems remained operational even after a loss of engine power, and the car’s engine could be restarted by shifting the car into either neutral or park.”


2006

The engineer responsible for the original ignition switch design signed off on the approval of design changes suggested by GM’s supplier, Delphi Mechatronics. The changes include, among other things, a new detent plunger design and stronger spring to increase the level of effort needed to twist the key between positions. The design was implemented by Delphi with out a change in part number, so GM did not have a hard date in which the design change made it to the effected models, but they believe it was for MY 2007. This is why ISB  #05-02-35-007 was amended to the  #05-02-35-007A in 2006 to include MY2007 models.

On August 1, 2006, GM opened a new PRTS when a Cobalt customer complained of stalling issues after receiving a new ignition cylinder. The PRTS was closed after the condition could not be replicated with 100 miles of driving.

2007

On March 29, 2007, GM employees met with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) to discuss occupant safety. In the meeting, the NHTSA informed the GM employees of a fatal accident that happened on July 29, 2005, where a 2005 Cobalt was involved in a front-end collision, and the vehicle’s sensing and diagnostic module (“SDM”) detected that the car was in the “accessory” position. Though GM’s legal department had opened a case in 2005, the GM employees at the NHTSA meeting were not aware of the incident.

GM tasked an investigating engineer to look into Cobalt crashes. By the end of 2007, GM found ten incidents where the car was claimed to have shut down prior to the accident. SDM was available for nine out of the ten crashes. In five of those crashes, the SDM reported that the ignition was in the “run” position, and four where in the “accessory” position.

2009

In Febuary 2009, a new PRTS was opened, and finally concluded with the design change in the Cobalt key suggested earlier. GM also met with Continental, the supplier of the SDM’s used in the Cobalt, in May. By this point, GM was aware of fourteen crashes, seven with the SDM reporting the key in the “run” position, and seven reporting the key in the “accessory” position. GM sent two Cobalt SDM’s that reported the ignition in the “run” position at the time of the accident to Continental for further testing. Continental revealed in the meeting that they had access to data that GM engineers did not, and found that in both SDM’s the sensing algorithm had been stopped while reporting the key in the “run” position. GM and Contentental discussed possible causes, but it is not known by TTAC at this time as to what those possible causes were.

2010

The Cobalt’s production was phased out as previously planned.

2011

GM launched an alphabet soup investigation using their Field Performance Evaluation (“FPE”) process, and assigned a  Field Performance Assessment Engineer (“FPAE”) to investigate a group of 2005-2007 Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5 crashes where the airbags had no deployed in a frontal crash.

The results were inconclusive at first, with several other driver-factors that came into play with some of the accidents (Gravel roads, high speeds, etc). The only thing confirmed in the FPE investigation was that “some of the ignitions were recorded as having been in the ‘run’ position, while others were recorded as having been in either the “accessory” or “off” positions, at the time of the crash.”

The FPAE was asked to investigate if other known issues, namely the known ignition cylinder issues, were to explain the airbag non-deployment in the 2007 and earlier vehicles.

2012

In May of 2012, the FPAE tested the ignition cylinders of Chevrolet Cobalts, Chevrolet HHRs, Pontiac G5s, and Saturn Ions, in model years ranging from 2003 through 2010, according to the report. The cars were sampled at a salvage yard, and tested for their “torque performance,” or how much torque it takes to rotate the key though its detents. They found in vehicles made from MY 2007 and before that several switches showed torque performance below what GM had originally specified.

GM also looked to see if changes to the Cobalt’s anti-theft system in 2008 had any effect on the design of ignition cylinder, but results were inconclusive. GM opened two studies using their “Red X” and “Design for Six Sigma” problem-solving methodologies to look at why the tested ignition cylinders’ torque performance differed so greatly between one another. The Red X investigation was closed in November of 2012. The Design for Six Sigma investigation closed in January 2013. Both were inconclusive.

2013

In April of 2013, the FPAE discovered that the torque performance of a new GM ignition switch purchased after 2010 differed greatly from one in a 2005 Cobalt. The FPAE also learned that the plunger and spring differed greatly, as well.

Shortly after that assessment, GM consulted an outside engineering resource to investigate all of their findings. It was confirmed that the MY2007 and older cars regularly failed to meet the torque performance that GM had specified; that there was a change in the ignition cylinder design in late-2006 by Delphi, the part supplier; and that those changes were responsible for the different torque performance difference in the MY2007 and older cars when compared to the later model cars.

With all analysis complete, the results were brought to GM’s Field Performance Evaluation Review Committee (“FPERC”) and the Executive Field Action Decision Committee (“EFADC”) on December 17th, 2013, and a second EFADC meeting on January 31, 2014, when the EFADC directed a safety recall.

Conclusion

GM’s report summarizes it best:

Between 2005 and the date of this submission, GM is currently aware of 23 frontal-impact crashes involving 2005 to 2007 Chevrolet Cobalts and 2007 Pontiac G5s in which the recall condition may have caused or contributed to the airbags’ non-deployment. During that same timeframe, of these crashes, GM is currently aware of six that resulted in eight fatalities of frontal occupants. GM employees became aware of many of these crashes within a month of the dates on which they occurred. As GM learned of these crashes, employees undertook to investigate the underlying facts and circumstances to determine, among other things, why the airbags had not deployed. With respect to 22 of the 23 frontal-impact crashes referenced above, the data retrieved from the vehicles’ SDMs indicated that the ignition switches were in the “run” position in nine of the crashes, in the “accessory” position in twelve of the crashes, and in the “off” position in one of the crashes. Throughout this period, GM was involved in claims and lawsuits in which allegations were made regarding the ignition switch issue that is the subject of the recall. These 23 crashes are out of a total U.S. population of 619,122 vehicles subject to the pending recall.

 

What’s clear to me is this: GM was neglectful in dismissing the issue so early on. While the design was repaired by Delphi in a reasonable amount of time, the implementation into the older models should not have been ignored for so long. This is where GM dropped the ball, in my opinion. The key design change was not enough, only bandaiding the fault of the ignition cylinder.

So, here is the question for you, B&B. Where is GM irresponsible?

Were they justified in delaying their full investigation with the FPAE until 2011, 7 years after finding the issue? And was their investigation timely? Delphi solved the problem in late-2006, why did it take GM until 2013 to confirm the changes and move forward with the recall?

[Ed. Note: Title updated with full text mention]

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119 Comments on “General Motors Expanding Ignition Cylinder Recall To Other Models, Releases Timeline On Failure [w/ Full Text]...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I honestly think given the chaos before, during, and even after the bailout this slipped through the cracks. I suspect in general GM would rather forget about all of its models prior to bankruptcy, especially the orphaned and discontinued ones. Speaking of GM wouldn’t Motors Liquidation be liable for this, or is “New GM” still on the hook?

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      GM shouldn’t be on the hook at all!

      The stories I have read and heard stated that this is happening because people have 40 pounds of crap hanging off that key.

      This is a idiotic owner problem…not an issue with the car.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        That is why in the press release they said to remove everything from the ignition key during driving. It is fine until the the extra weight is added. They also said to buckle up and drive safely. That little black box is watching and they can see the last 30 seconds of key-on time.

      • 0 avatar
        VCplayer

        Unless GM stated somewhere that you shouldn’t hang excessive weight from the cylinder, they are definitely on the hook. It makes sense not to do that if you know how an ignition cylinder works, but I would guess 99% of people have no clue.

        • 0 avatar
          Z71_Silvy

          It’s been known for years that you don’t do that.

          That’s like saying the manufacturer is on the hook for injuries sustained from not wearing a seatbelt.

          Stupidity does not put the responsibility on the manufacturer.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            Does the manual say that? I know every car I’ve owned had one telling me to wear a seatbelt. Maybe it tells me not to hang things from the cylinder too, I can’t remember.

            I realize no one reads those things, but a lot the things printed there are for liability purposes in the first place.

            Also, if it’s entirely user error, why is GM issuing a recall?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The best evidence of said stupidity here is buying a GM product. Killing customers is rather short-sighted as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Loser

            Silvy, if this was Ford you’d be on your predictable anti Ford rant.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m not a lawyer but it was my understanding the GM which dated to the early part of the 20th century was renamed Motors Liquidation and the “good assets” were transferred to “New GM” an LLC spun up post bailout. So is “New GM” liable for not only a recall but the deaths of at least seven people, or does this fall under Motors Liquidation who was the legal entity in force when the neglect occurred?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Z71_Silvy,

        “This is a idiotic owner problem…not an issue with the car.”

        While true, GM owners aren’t any more idiotic than the general pop. Unless you know otherwise…

        But no other OEM has had ignition switches fail and shut the car OFF from crazy amounts of crap hanging from the key. That’s clearly a design flaw, unless “crap hanging from that key” is something new to car ownership.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          Your last statement is not true. This has been a problem with 1990s – 2000s Hondas as well, as experienced by my sister in her 1999 Odyssey.

          A worn mechanical portion of the ignition lock cylinder can cause the electrical portion of the switch to malfunction. We proved it on my sister’s car by separating the electrical portion of the switch (after it had been replaced with no change in symptoms) from the mechanical, and letting it hang underneath the dash, operating it with a screwdriver.

          My seasoned mechanic friends also know to look at the total weight of the keyring when doing electrical system diagnosis.

      • 0 avatar
        jc8825

        Agreed. Weight on keyrings has been damaging ignitions for 40 years. Take that crap off and just use your key by itself.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    Seems to me that GM didn’t realize the severity of the problem until it was to late.

    • 0 avatar
      zach

      They knew about it before the car even launched.

      • 0 avatar
        Thatkat09

        They knew about it but they never expected it to be a major problem, hence the service bulletin. Only after they learned of the crashes in 07 did they realize the severity of the situation and took action to remedy the problem. I’m wondering why they didn’t recall the cars in 08, but like 28-Cars-Later said, it probably slipped through the cracks when GM was trying to avoid going out of business.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          It seems difficult to believe that they sold cars for over a hundred years without learning that a car that turns itself off is a major problem. They knew the potential was there for affected cars to turn themselves off.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Its amazing to me that Ford could build cars for 70 odd years and not know that putting a gas tank right behind the rear bumper was a bad idea.

            It is amazing to me that Toyota could build cars and not know that a mis-shapen floor mat that traps gas pedals would be a big problem.

            It is amazing to me that a cross section of auto makers could buy millions upon millions of airbags from the same company, with over two centuries of experience between them, to have to do a massive recall for airbag deployments.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            How long have the latest progressive deployment airbags been in cars? How long have ignitions?

            Toyota was supposed to know that people would repurpose floormats across model lines? That’s what caused them to be misinstalled and create interference issues. Do you not know that, or would it lessen the value of your existence to acknowledge it?

            The only question with Ford is why people still buy their junk. It doesn’t take a news crew and a bunch of pyrotechnics to turn one of their products into a flambe.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            …Toyota was supposed to know that people would repurpose floormats across model lines?…

            That was not the singular issue and you KNOW IT. Don’t be obtuse on purpose to serve your agenda. The recall information from Toyota is public record and includes ill-designed gas pedal that were reshaped, trimmed or completely replaced, and all weather floor mats made for specific models (Lexus specifically) that were also not designed properly. The problems of double floormats is purely owner error, you’ll get no argument from me there.

            But Toyota got out the carpet knives for millions of gas pedals – you’d think they could design that right (or write code that doesn’t set hybrid resistors on fire…)

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            For Toyota it is all in the software code. Andd not even NASA was allowed access to it all. Along with no failsafe and full buffers the car went hariwire. No codes set, no trail of errors. That way Toyota could give a tanigle change to clipped pedals and zip tied floor mats.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Toyota’s software problems:

            http://www.safetyresearch.net/2013/11/07/toyota-unintended-acceleration-and-the-big-bowl-of-spaghetti-code/

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            Safety research. net is a bunk site and funded by attorneys suing Toyota. Sean Kane has jack to go on and always has.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            APaGttH, Ford did not put the fuel tank behind the rear bumper. There is a “10 worst cars” article all over the internet that misstates that. Seriously, that’s like putting your wallet behind your back pocket.
            The Pinto’s fuel tank was behind the rear axle, not behind the bumper.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            Pretty sure Ford recalled very quickly and fixed all of those flammable 1.6T engines, unless I missed something recently in the news.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            “Don’t be obtuse on purpose to serve your agenda.”

            Need I remind you that you were the one that denied the basic reason of the argument that GM should have known that cars that shut off on their own were a dangerous idea? You’re shameless, and I hope a victim’s family member discusses your shilling with you in a dark alley.

  • avatar
    zach

    How the Cobalt ever made it to production with a joke of a back seat foot room is what I want to know, there is literally an inch of foot room in these boogers.

  • avatar
    zach

    Wow GM knew of the problem before the ill fated Cobalt launched, tisk tisk. Something about these cars always struck me as awkward (besides the obvious ignition mechanism) something just looked dangerous about them, maybe it was the c pillar kink, can’t quite put my finger on it.

  • avatar

    There’s a quality control issue here. Delphi made components that were out of spec and neither their QC procedures, nor GM’s caught the problem until long after the components were installed on cars. Delphi shares a lot of the responsibility in this matter.

    • 0 avatar
      Phillip Thomas

      +1

      • 0 avatar

        There were a number of failed processes in this matter up to and including that alphabet soup of processes they implemented after the first indication of a problem. The parts themselves were a failure but so were the QC procedures intended to keep faulty parts out of cars as well as the subsequent procedures used to identify and solve QC problems.

        Obviously there were processes implemented by well meaning people, but those processes seem to have been part of a cascade of failure.

        Sort of reminds me about what Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, said about things like ISO and QS9000: documenting bad procedures well.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      +10. I don’t think we always realize how much modern car manufacturers are at the mercy of their suppliers.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see some GM W-Bodies added to this. There were ignition switch issues with the Gen VII Grand Prix – and the ignition switch placement sucked.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Can we expect the media to ignore this while making up defects about toyotas?

    • 0 avatar
      zach

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ya, the media is really ignoring this one.

      http://www.bing.com/news/search?q=GM+recall+ignition+switch&FORM=HDRSC6

      https://www.google.com/#q=GM+recall+ignition+switch&tbm=nws

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      This has been all over the news sites and the nightly news. CBS has shown interviews with one of the mothers whose daughter and friend were killed when their Cobalt crashed because the steering locked up which was caused by the key leaving the run position. Neither girl was wearing a seat belt so no airbags plus no seat belts in a high speed crash = probable death. My condolences to all the family’s who have lost loved ones because of this btw.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Never get in the way of a good anti-GM rant on TTAC. Facts – don’t need no stinkin’ facts – just need perception. If I say the media ain’t coverin’ it – the media ain’t coverin’ it.

        Not sure what people expect. Stop sell order? None of the cars in question being built. Change in manufacturer order? None of the parts in question being used (as far as we know and GM records show). Recall the offending vehicles? Being done. Acknowledge death count? GM is being a better citizen on this than Toyota was (hey, not our fault, driver error, they have too many keys). Investigation for not reporting earlier? Opened up by the government. Fines coming? More than likely IMHO.

        But nope nope nope – no media coverage on this one. Thank goodness that TTAC is here to be the lone voice in the woods to tell this story. And CNN, and NBC, and CBS, and CNN, and Fox, and USA Today, and Time/Warner publications, and every national newspaper, and MSNBC, and…

        • 0 avatar
          Phillip Thomas

          At the very least, I do try to give you the purist information I can. Yes, there is wide spread coverage. But at times the articles are deciphering this information incorrectly, and the rest feed off those assumptions.

          I present my coverage with full text source material for you, the kind reader, to work on and form your own opinion; and present the information as straight forward as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            My post was not directed to you as the author of this story.

            This is in response to the lack of “media coverage” to this issue, when as provided in both a Bing and Google link, there are thousands of stories, video, print, and electronic, about this issue.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @Phillip Thomas: I – for one – appreciate the succinct story you wrote, since I haven’t actually taken the time to read much about it elsewhere. I also read the GM summary at the link you provided – all very helpful.

        • 0 avatar
          Thatkat09

          Looks like im gonna have to get my battle armor on. Cant have rants go uncontested, can we.

        • 0 avatar
          zach

          Better than Toyota? GM’s own internal docs show they knew of the problem before the car launched.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            And Toyota knew about ill-fitting floor mats, that they recalled in other countries, and did nothing for in the United States a full two years before it became a public crisis.

            They then denied, denied, denied, denied.

            Here, from a neutral news source…

            http://www.indianagazette.com/news/reg-national-world/documents-toyota-boasted-of-saving-100-million-on-recall,54444/

            …Claims by Toyota in internal documents that it saved money by obtaining a limited recall from regulators in 2007 create an even bigger challenge for the automaker’s president when he testifies before U.S. lawmakers this week over quality and safety lapses.

            Toyota officials said they saved $100 million by successfully negotiating with the U.S. government on a limited recall of floor mats in some Toyota and Lexus vehicles, according to new documents shared with congressional investigators.

            Toyota, in an internal presentation in July 2009 at its Washington office, said it saved $100 million or more by negotiating an “equipment recall” of floor mats involving 55,000 Toyota Camry and Lexus ES350 vehicles in September 2007.

            The savings are listed under the title, “Wins for Toyota – Safety Group.” The document cites millions of dollars in other savings by delaying safety regulations, avoiding defect investigations and slowing down other industry requirements…

            Almost three years later, despite broader recalls in Japan and other countries, it became clear Toyota was wrong. Then Toyota denied, denied, denied, and said no deaths associated.

            It’s all public record. Covered well here in TTAC.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            Those “ill fitting floormats” you are exaggerating actually fit fine. It’s only when people stacked the all weather mats on top of the carpet mats, rather than removing them PER PROCEDURE, did they become “ill fitting”.

            But hey like you say, don’t let facts get in the way.

        • 0 avatar
          JK43123

          Recall the offending vehicles? Being done…except within the same decade might be nice.

          John

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Not to say headcount is a good thing but with only 13 deaths from GM, the Toyota SUA recording an even higher 21 is much worse.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        The difference is that Toyota’s was driver error, this Cobalt problem is GM’s stupidity. Oh yes, and show me where those “21 deaths” have been conclusively linked to SUA.

        Oh yeah, and the fact that you even tried to compare deaths and excuse GM for less of them just proves that you were saying head count somehow matters.

        When you run out of gas in your Saab, you could fill it with some of your hot air.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I’m no longer a fan of GM but hanging a ton of stuff on ignition keys is not GM’s fault.

          The same could have happened to Toyota, Ford, Honda or Nissan ignition cylinders if people hung enough weight on the ignition key.

          But it is so much easier to blame Toyota or GM or whatever for Insufficient User IQ.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Wrong. GM has been around long enough to know that the mouth-breathers that still buy their garbage are all union janitors.

  • avatar
    zach

    I wonder if GM took the Pinto approach and figured potential injury and death payments would be cheaper than redesigning the original ones?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      You mean like the Toyota PPT deck that bragged about the money they saved by avoiding a Lexus floormat recall done in 2007?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        If you’re right, GM can look forward to billions in fines and nuisance recalls for non-issues in all their other products. Just kidding. That would assume that the NHTSA was administering a level playing field.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Exaggerate much?

          Toyota was fined $17.35 million when you add it all up.

          http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1090237_toyota-recall-fiasco-finally-nearing-an-end-as-company-agrees-to-1-billion-settlement

          …The company also shelled out to the feds, including a whopping $17.35 million fine for taking far too long to recall 2010 Lexus RX models. And of course, Toyota carried out countless recalls, which cost millions upon millions more…

          I’ll bet you GM is fined at least 33% of this figure (seeing how the Toyota recall impacted a far larger group of vehicles)

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Not all the Toyota recalls were for none issues unless rotting spare tire cages, faulty solenoids in the transmission and a fuel system issue (all on my 2008 Sienna – I actually buy cars form companies that are lauded by you) are considered none issues by you.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            Seeing how those recalls have nothing to do with SUA, how exactly are they relevant?

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Nope – there was the recall about two weeks ago to 2.1 million Toyota’s due to flaming electronics caused by crappy software code. Jack covered that one.

          • 0 avatar
            luvmyv8

            @LAloser

            It was a Lexus ES350. In this case it was a Lexus rental car the CHP officer had while his wife’s IS250 was in service. In this case, the dealer put a SUV all weather floormat over the correct carpet floormat. It was the wrong size AND it wasn’t secured. Unfortunately in this case, the worst case happened and it jammed the pedal and sent the car flying into a dry river, killing a family.

            I work across the street from that dealer and drive past the spot where the car crashed everyday. Right after the incident the dealership changed owners.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      +1 x 10e6

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “The Pinto approach” is a persistent urban legend – look it up.

      I’m not defending GM or Delphi here, but product designers always try to optimize cost, performance, and quality. This is why you can buy $300 PCs and cheap airline tickets. Producing a rock-solid OS and a plane that can’t kill you are just too expensive to do.

  • avatar
    zach

    GM would have ignored customer complaints anyway, we had a 2006 Malibu that the steering would intermittently lose power assist, 5 dealer visits, and finally they fixed it only to have it happen 6 months later, we dumped the sorry POS later the same week for a Camry, I’ll take boring over playing with 18 wheelers in a little Chevy.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “incidences” should simply be “incidents”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if those crashed switches found in the “run” position were actually jarred there during the crash. The SDM event recorder should tell you this, but the timing of crash events isn’t clear from the report, and there appears to be a conflict between Continental and GM on this point. More at 11.

    (As a side note: I once had an 85 Chrysler whose radio would shut off if the ignition was between “run” and “start”, but the engine would still operate. Its internal spring wasn’t always strong enough to make the default position be 100% settled into “run”. This type of issue is not mentioned in GM’s report, but it could explain why airbags weren’t deploying with ignition switches seemingly in the “run” position.)

    Seems like GM wasn’t checking Delphi’s work on the original switch design, but Delphi noticed the problem, and GM let Delphi correct it once they heard about it.

    Also seems like the Red X experiment may have been set up wrong. While it says GM was looking for an explanation of the differences between the groups, the different torque groupings were already acknowledged. I don’t get how they could just close off this study without more investigation.

    GM’s carefully-worded story (it’s only 5 pages long) isn’t telling all the facts, but the facts will come out. Before anyone cries “Toyota throttle”, this situation is much different. The events will be easily trackable with emails, engineering change orders, and so on.

    Q: Why did this take so long to come to light? A: The incident rate is fairly low, and GM’s engineers have a lot more on their plate than just monitoring ignition switch torque. Also, it takes a lot to organize an engineering investigation – you don’t just run off and perform some tests.

  • avatar
    zach

    These also had steering malfunctions I recall, and shared many problems with the same vintage Malibus, intermediate shafts, steering motors failing, steering wheel interlocks, these were same badly engineered cars, I know from experience.

  • avatar
    zach

    The Cobalt is making the Cavalier look like a beacon of safety.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    unlike UI, this is an actual issue that actually killed people and they hid it for many years.

    Where is the US government chasing them down, ruining their reputation and collecting made-up legal fees? Oh, wait, the US government along with he UAW owned this company….

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I am sure there will be legal fees and costs. So you can quite complaining.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      If you actually did a five second Google search, you would already know NHSTA has opened an official investigation. It took NHTSA YEARS to assess a $17.5 million fine on Toyota – do you suggest this happen all in a week – or will you let the system work it out. As it will.

      GM will be fined

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        The fine is likely to be small in comparison to the civil liability.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          I suspect no cases will ever go to court (this was just bad PR on Toyota’s part and what a shock, the first case they lost, they moved to settle in one swoop).

          I suspect the conversation will go something like, “hi, we’re with GM. We are sorry for your loss. I have a checkbook here. Exactly how many zeroes to make this go away.”

          I don’t condone it. I think it sucks. I think corporations should be held to the same standard as private citizens – but that’s now how it works in the USA.

          New GM doesn’t want to deal with old GM – I suspect this will move along quickly and quietly.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            It would be nice if we could satisfy our sentiment for justice that way, but it’s hard to justify sending a guy to jail unless you can prove he fully knew about and understood both the defects and the implication of the defects. Given what we know about how GM runs, it’s entirely possible no one in a decision making role had all of the puzzle pieces in front of them for years; and as 28 cars mentioned, the bankruptcy didn’t help with any of this.

            That doesn’t let the company off the hook, they should have had systems in place to prevent this from happening. They are rightly going to pay out a bunch of money to both the government and victim’s families, but assessing individual responsibility for criminal prosecutions is difficult even in clear-cut cases.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Delphi solved the problem in late-2006, why did it take GM until 2013 to confirm the changes and move forward with the recall?”

    Under the Bush administration, NHTSA wasn’t particularly active. In contrast, NHTSA under the Obama administration has taken a more aggressive tone.

    These agencies are run by political appointees, so their actions reflect the tone set by the then-current administation. The current version of NHTSA hands out much bigger fines, and is generally tougher than it had been. At the moment, automakers have to be more proactive, lest they get caught by the agency, with higher penalties and bigger PR blows being the price of untimely recalls.

    The number, size and nature of penalties are public record. Go pull them, compare them, and make some phone calls, and you’ll have the basis for another article or two.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Serious question for you. Do you think this is a policy issue – or do you think this is a post-Toyota, they dragged their feet, tried to cover up, negotiated, stealth recall, blamed customers…and we’re not going to take it anymore aftermath.

      I agree in principal that administrations set the tone for the regulatory agencies under them. Under the Bush administration, a near naked breast caused a total uproar that had the FCC coming down hard in a number of places – almost all of that (if not more) has been walked back under the current administration (so I see your point).

      But again – do you think it’s administration direction, the aftershocks of the Toyota incidents, or a combination of both.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t know what happened. What I do know is that this administration is inclined to use big fines and bad publicity as penalties for “untimely” recalls, which are a euphemism for recalls that were initiated by the agency, rather than by the automaker. GM must know this, and Ford and Toyota have both paid dearly for their failures to play ball in the fashion that NHTSA would have preferred.

        By my count, BMW was assessed a penalty in 2012 for one untimely recall that was greater than the total fines assessed by NHTSA during eight years of the Bush administration.

        For the most part, the two political parties use different rhetoric but otherwise largely end up doing similar things. But this is one area in which they genuinely differ — this White House wants to use the agency as a force for public safety, while the previous administration was less punitive, with fines that were easier to stomach.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    What is the timeline for the Congressional Hearings and for the NHTSA to tell people to stop driving their GMs?

    Just wondering…

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      *sigh*

      Lets recap.

      Stop sell order? None of the cars in question being built anymore – heck the platforms aren’t even in use anymore in North America.

      Change in manufacturer order? None of the parts in question being used (as far as we know and GM records show).

      Recall the offending vehicles? Being done.

      Acknowledge death count? GM is being a better citizen on this than Toyota was saying 13 deaths. Toyota denied, denied, denied, and in every single case never admitted liability and always blamed every incident on driver error. The one exception being the 2007 Lexus that killed the CHP officer and three family members, where Toyota threw the dealer under the bus (rightly) for using the wrong floor mats in that incident, and IIRC doubling-up floor mats. Lets also add that Toyota would not let ANYONE look at blackbox data but themselves, claiming it was proprietary (GM is open source) and in any questionable case, amazingly, Toyota found the data useless, garbled, or inconclusive. Trust us – that’s what we found out.

      Investigation for not reporting earlier? Opened up by the government.

      Fines coming? More than likely IMHO.

      So what exactly are you looking for then?

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        “Toyota was saying 13 deaths. Toyota denied, denied, denied, and in every single case never admitted liability and always blamed every incident on driver error.”

        That’s because they were. Sorry to burst your Toyota hating bubble. Toyota isn’t going to admit fault simply because people don’t know how to drive. Many of those so called black box readings you cite showed that the gas pedal was applied, when the driver claimed he was on the brake. Nevermind the fact that many of those “deaths” involved cars that didn’t even have a DBW system, like a 1990 4Runner, or the infamous guy who claimed his 1995 Camry, with no DBW whatsoever, took off on him and caused him to crash and then went to jail, and nevermind the fact that in one case the driver was found to have a .10 BAC in his system. Nevermind the fact that in another case a driver of an Avalon that crashed had a history of seizures and that the majority of these deaths involved senior citizens.
        .

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        “Toyota was saying 13 deaths. Toyota denied, denied, denied, and in every single case never admitted liability and always blamed every incident on driver error.”

        That’s because they were. Sorry to burst your Toyota hating bubble. Toyota isn’t going to admit fault simply because people don’t know how to drive. Many of those so called black box readings you cite showed that the gas pedal was applied, when the driver claimed he was on the brake. Nevermind the fact that many of those “deaths” involved cars that didn’t even have a DBW system, like a 1990 4Runner, or the infamous guy who claimed his 1995 Camry, with no DBW whatsoever, took off on him and caused him to crash and then went to jail, and nevermind the fact that in one case the driver was found to have a .10 BAC in his system. Nevermind the fact that in another case a driver of an Avalon that crashed had a history of seizures and that the majority of these deaths involved senior citizens. And then there was James Skyes who claimed his Prius took off on him and practically lied on national TV, ignoring the 911 dispatcher’s advice to put the car into neutral. When the black box was read, it was showing him applying the brakes then slamming on the gas and then it was found out he was millions in debt. But he wouldn’t have any motive to lie, now would he????

        And as the SUA fiasco was on going, Toyota provided more EDR’s to local authorities so they could read black boxes.

        It’s so refreshing to see the same Toyota bashers who wanted Toyota to be hung for the SUA BS squirming and going all out to defend GM and make them look good by trashing Toyota some more. This Cobalt issue just further proves what type of a scum bag company GM has been this entire time.

        I hope GM burns for this and I’m loving you GM fanboys go crazy over this. Pay back is a so sweet

        • 0 avatar
          Thatkat09

          A scumbag company doesn’t apologize, admit wrong doing and open itself up to massive amounts of litigation. GM may be inept at times but that’s where the buck stops. I think you need to take a chill pill dude.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Huh, all those liars in the media.

          http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2010/03/04/toyota-secretive-black-box-data/

          AP also found that Toyota:
          – Has frequently refused to provide key information sought by crash victims and survivors.

          – Uses proprietary software in its EDRs. Until this week, there was only a single laptop in the U.S. containing the software needed to read the data following a crash.

          – In some lawsuits, when pressed to provide recorder information Toyota either settled or provided printouts with the key columns blank.

          Toyota’s “black box” information is emerging as a critical legal issue amid the recall of 8 million vehicles by the world’s largest automaker. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this week that 52 people have died in crashes linked to accelerator problems, triggering an avalanche of lawsuits…

          52 people…but don’t let facts get in the way.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            NASA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles capable of producing the large throttle openings required to create dangerous high-speed unintended acceleration incidents…”NASA found no evidence that a malfunction in electronics caused large unintended accelerations,” said Michael Kirsch, Principal Engineer at the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC).

            http://www.nhtsa.gov/PR/DOT-16-11

          • 0 avatar

            APaGttH> And here is more. NASA investigated nine cars exactly. They examined a minute amount of code, just 28,000 lines. No where does it say they analyzed black boxes.

            Nasa generally hires some pretty smart folks and this case they had the relevant software expertise. Are you seriously claiming that those Cars.com and FoxNews sources know their shiit better than Nasa? Or maybe you know better? Should’ve spoken up earlier and the lawyers could’ve hired you as expert witness.

            In fact they did hire experts who didn’t find jack except circumstantial “evidence” only convincing to the technically illiterate. These kinds of software & hardware are mathematically deterministic systems not prone to random operation. The plaintiffs were so desperate they were arguing that random bit flips or whatever not accounted for might cause the problem.

            In sum, please stop arguing about things you aren’t knowledgeable about against experts who actually are. It will make you a better person and the world a better place, thx.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          And here is more. NASA investigated nine cars exactly. They examined a minute amount of code, just 28,000 lines. No where does it say they analyzed black boxes.

          http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2011/02/nhtsa-nasa-clear-toyotas-electronic-throttle-in-crashes.html

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “In conducting their report, NASA engineers evaluated the electronic circuitry in Toyota vehicles and analyzed more than 280,000 lines of software code for any potential flaws that could initiate an unintended acceleration incident.”

            You missed about 252,000 lines.

            http://www.nhtsa.gov/PR/DOT-16-11

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I quoted the source – even at 282K – a Chevy Volt has 10 million lines of code, a modern luxury car, up to 100 million. This only scratched the surface. There is xcellent write ups on the conditions set for NASA inspection, and they were not permitted to review certain aspects of code they wanted to.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I do hope that you’re not trying to argue that Cars.com is a better source for obtaining NHTSA’s report than the part of NHTSA’s website that is dedicated to presenting the report.

            Because that would be rather silly, particularly with all of the PDF files attached to the NHTSA website.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            Yeah, a car has millions of lines of code. You’re right. But they don’t have millions of lines of code for the throttle. NASA investigated for nearly a year 9 cars that were involved in SUA accidents and examined the code that had to do with the Drive by wire system.

            You want them to waste money and time looking at the code for the power door locks? THEY’LL FIND THAT GREMLIN!! I KNOW IT! THOSE LYING JAPS!

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            I do software. 10 million lines of code is a liability, not something you brag about.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            The team:
            a) Had unrestricted access to the ETCS-i design, design engineering, drawings, schematics, software source code, and VOQ vehicles acquired by NHTSA.
            b) Studied whether the unknown source of UA failure modes could be identified, linked to typical consumer use, and demonstrated through testing of vehicles associated with consumer reports (VOQ vehicles) or vehicle components.
            c) Used data provided by the VOQ reports to determine where a flaw might be, what might cause it, and how it would manifest itself in normal use.
            d) Focused on evaluating the conditions under which the ETCS-i could cause a UA and not generate a diagnostic trouble code (DTC).

            Quoted straight from the NASA PDF on the investigation on their website.

            So if NASA said they had unrestricted access to the source code, they must be lying and the lawyers who are suing Toyota and are claiming that NASA was restricted must be right.

      • 0 avatar
        RRocket

        NASA engineers studied the black boxes per Congressional recommendation. I believe the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers(JUSE) also studied the black boxes. Both parties came up empty.

        All evidence pointed to driver error…specifically misapplication of the gas pedal thinking it was the brake pedal. This is known as Driver Error.

        • 0 avatar
          84Cressida

          NO YOUR WRONG. there’s no way the nobodys at NASA could be right, who the hell are they??? The one driver said he had his foot on the brake, we have to believe him and his lawyer, Toyota is full of scum bags, we have to keep bringing them up to try to deflect the GM hatred because GM is a good citizen and is coming right out about this issue and they said they are sorry. Plus they’re new GM now, that was old GM, Toyota is evil. :)

          Ok???

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Please provide source they analyzed EDR black boxes. The link I provided that shows what NASA looked at does not include EDR information. Will happily be corrected.

          Toyota was lambasted for making the data utterly inaccessible.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            “In August 2010, the Wall St. Journal reported that experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had examined the “black boxes” of 58 vehicles involved in sudden-acceleration reports. The study found that in 35 of the cases, the brakes weren’t applied at the time of the crash. In nine other cases in the same study, the brakes were used only at the last moment before impact”
            http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704164904575421603167046966?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052748704164904575421603167046966.html

            Toyota was lambasted for only having one EDR recorder in the US at the early onset of the recalls. They quickly brought more in and supplied them to authorities and NHTSA. Or is NHTSA in on the conspiracy too????

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “The data comparison between the NHTSA equipment and the Toyota EDR indicate no errors in the measurement and storage of pre-crash data.”

            http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nvs/pdf/NHTSA-Toyota_EDR_pre-crash_validation.pdf

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            The U.S. Department of Transportation, as part of its ongoing investigation, has found no defects with Toyota vehicles that reportedly experienced sudden, unintended acceleration and has instead uncovered evidence suggesting driver error is to blame according to a report in The Wall Street Journal citing anonymous sources.

            According to the Journal’s sources, the analysis of “dozens” of data recorders, also known as “black boxes,” has revealed that at the times of the crashes, the throttles were wide open and the brakes were not being depressed. Such evidence suggests that the drivers were mistakenly standing on the gas pedal when they thought they were standing on the brakes.

            Read more: http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/dot-report-driver-error-not-defects-to-blame-in-toyota-sudden-acceleration-3942/#ixzz2uaMS72FP

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            You didn’t answer the question.

            NHSTA is not NASA – you’re changing the point

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            The team:

            d) Focused on evaluating the conditions under which the ETCS-i could cause a UA and not generate a diagnostic trouble code (DTC).

            NASA pdf.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched the study last spring at the request of Congress, and enlisted NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to conduct new research into whether electronic systems or electromagnetic interference played a role in incidents of unintended acceleration.”

            http://www.nhtsa.gov/PR/DOT-16-11

            It should be obvious that NASA performed its research on behalf of NHTSA.

            Yes, NHTSA quite literally engaged a bunch of rocket scientists to investigate this. And neither the electronic throttle controls nor the EDRs were found to be a problem. The only issues were mechanical (the gas pedal) and incidental to the mechanicals (floor mats jamming said gas pedals.)

            It’s time to end the disinformation campaign. Honestly, TMC should consider suing you for libel at this point; how many times can you keep making this stuff up?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        If you’re a representative example of a GM victim, then they’re getting what they deserve. He didn’t mention stop-sale orders, just stop driving. That sounds like an interesting question when you consider that these cars can kill people that can tell pedals apart. You produced a transparent straw-man in the face of your company killing people. BIH.

        • 0 avatar
          Thatkat09

          I’m reading some of your comments. You need to calm down.Your really coming off as a major tool. “Mouth breathers” “Stupidity for buying GM” Really? I can see this isn’t cut and dry just like Toyota but apperently you just see it as ammo. Seriously, major tool comments dude.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    So do people get to sue GM for wrongful death or do they have to take “Motors Liquidation” to court.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Problem Resolution Tracking System inquiry (“PRTS”)

    vehicle’s sensing and diagnostic module (“SDM”)

    Field Performance Evaluation (“FPE”) process, and assigned a Field Performance Assessment Engineer (“FPAE”)

    Field Performance Evaluation Review Committee (“FPERC”) and the Executive Field Action Decision Committee (“EFADC”)

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Well, I guess I can add GM products to the list of “cars I’ll never buy” along with Toyota. No big loss really.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Hah! I switched in 2008 from the domestics to my first foreign brand, a Japan-built 2008 Highlander, and was pleasantly surprised.

      Then again, I also bought a UAW-assembled 2012 Grand Cherokee imported from Detroit and am surprised to find it just as good as the 2008 Highlander, so far.

      But I’m not going to risk keeping the GC beyond the warranty coverage like I did the Highlander.

      There’s still that nagging memory of when Detroit included breakdowns and planned obsolescence in all of their vehicles, free of charge.

      Yeah, I think I’ll take any Toyota product over anything from Detroit if it needs to be a keeper.

      • 0 avatar
        pb35

        Does your GC have the 5.7? I just read about a recall for the timing chain on my 2012 Hemi Charger earlier this evening. I don’t mind and expect issues to arise with any manufacturer, it’s how they are handled is what matters to me.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          pb35, my wife’s GC is a 2012 Overland Summit 4X4 Trail Rated with the Pentastar V6. It was built in Oct 2011 and purchased in Nov 2011 in Phoenix, AZ.

          A friend of ours has the 2012 5.7 Limited and when she took her GC in for normal maintenance they checked out the VIN against recalls and advisories and found none.

          My oldest son has a 2012 SRT8 and there were no recalls issued for his VIN either.

          Seems the 2011s had some quirks but those were pretty much worked out until the 2014s hit the lots.

          My wife’s three sisters each bought a 2014 GC and all of them have had issues (too many to list here; see cars dot com’s kicking tires recalls for the 2014 GC for more info).

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      Funny enough, when its time to hang up the S40 I may consider GM more so than I did prior to this recall. They are doing their best to correct an old mistake and taking responsibility for their inaction. Its really showing how much they’ve changed since bankruptcy and I’m glad that their at least showing the makings of a more thoughtful company. I wasn’t sure until they actually apologized, old GM would have never been that brazen and would have stonewalled the entire process. Now though their cooperating and being as open as possible. Really happy to give them credit for changing their ways, at least a little.

  • avatar
    Zoodles95

    I have owned a 2006 HHR since 2009. I have a “normal” amount of keys on my keychain. To this day the car will shut off going over a particular set of train tracks in my city. Essentially a hard enough bump and the car shuts off. It used to lose the power steering periodically but that was addressed on a previous recall when the local dealership replaced the steering rack.

    Other than this shutting off issue the HHR has been a good car to me and I am strongly considering another GM product based on how the HHR has been. I hope to get a recall notice so that I can get this ignition issue resolved.

  • avatar
    SteelyMoose

    Reflective, analytical discussion or fanboi pi$$ing match?

    There go 10 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.


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