By on March 3, 2014

Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged Sedan

The years-long silence over a faulty ignition switch responsible for 13 deaths and a recall of 1.6 million vehicles made between 2003 and 2007 is about to take a greater toll on General Motors executives as federal investigations, lawsuits and penalties loom over the horizon.

Automotive News reports General Motors’ response to the flaw may be too little, too late for the automaker. Though GM North America president Alan Batey proclaimed last week that GM would take an “unflinching look… and apply lessons learned” from their internal investigation over the lack of action and resulting silence regarding the ignition switch, former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator and former consumer group Public Citizen president Joan Claybrook said the apology was all for naught:

That was a desperate move on their part to avoid heavy penalties. Saying ‘we’re sorry’ is not enough.

NHTSA announced they would be investigating the issue and its handling, and could issue as much as $35 million in fines. Meanwhile, Atlanta attorney Lance Cooper believes GM may be trying to get out in front of a lawsuit related to the ignition flaw by issuing the recall last month. Cooper recently settled a related lawsuit on behalf of the estate of Brooke Melton — whose 2010 death in a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt was the result of the switch cutting off engine power — for undisclosed terms:

I know a lot of good people at GM, and I know that GM is trying to turn itself around. But this is a black eye for the company, because of what they knew for so long and didn’t do anything about.

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97 Comments on “Ignition Flaw Fallout Grows For GM...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Nice color and wheels. Dont every remember seeing a Cobalt SS four door anywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Once they stuffed the 2.0T (LNF) into the Cobalt in favor of the 2.0 S/C, (LSJ) the full test SS was available as a sedan. While not common I see them with reasonable frequency around my local area.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’ve seen em! But not in that horrible 1998 Le Sabre color.

      The SS badge has just been whored to no end. It almost makes the W-body Impala look respectable though, especially with the big chromed special wheels they put on it. In black. And with I M P A L A across the back between the brake lights.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Hey man,

        The Cobalt may have had a rental grade living experience, but the turbocharged SS had some real performance behind that frumpy exterior and plasticky interior.

        http://www.caranddriver.com/features/lightning-lap-2008-feature-ll1-2008-chevrolet-cobalt-ss-page-2

        I never drove one on the track (I’ve never driven on a track period.) But I drove a couple SS Cobalts and had a blast.

    • 0 avatar
      rhs

      They only made 474 of the turbo sedan. None of them look like this photo which must have been a design study before they released it. Also, the turbo’d SS only came in ’09 which is outside the affected model year range for the “active ignition” problem so it’s a bit misleading.
      I own one, great car to drive (if you can get past the Cobalty interior…). Pretty quick and took a lot of magazine reviewers by surprise.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      The car shown is NOT a production model. The actual cars had the regular SS front (and rear) fascias. This appears to be a show or concept car.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    I guess they feel the need to pp slap GM now that the Govn’t has sold its stock.

    Should they have recalled it sooner? Maybe

    Who is to say the ignition had anything to do with these 13 deaths?

    NHTSA is getting to be just as bad as the EPA in trying to throw around muscle just to get some headlines and make the public think it is really all that relevant these days.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      GM may be getting another turn in the barrel as Toyota recently suffered.

      This “flaw” can only kill you if it happens to turn off the ignition as you are already involved in a high speed collision in which the supplemental air restraints might have made a difference in your survival.

      Low torque to turn and heavy key fob.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      GM is not at fault.

      Idiots had 40 pounds of crap hanging from their ignition.

      Don’t be stupid and don’t die. It’s that simple.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      Who is to say the ignition had anything to do with these 13 deaths?”

      The car data recorders showing that the cylinder was not in the on position at crash is indicative of the car not functioning correctly. It is reasonable for GM’s customers to assume that they can hang whatever they want from their keychain just like every other vehicle on the road.

      Furthermore, are we sure this didn’t cause accidents as well? Losing assisted steering or breaking in certain conditions can certainly cause an accident.

      The real problem here though is that this was an easy fix that GM didn’t do when they should have.

      That said, $35 million isn’t that big of a deal, and the lawsuite settlements won’t be too exhorborant. GM really just needs to get this over with.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I’m hardly in GM’s corner in any aspect, but this is all beginning to smell like that runaway Toyota snowjob of 2009. There was really no true defect in that case as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      I read an entire NYTimes article talking about one of the incidents where the driver died(RIP) and only at the end of the page in a tiny paragraph did it mention the driver of said Cobalt was drunk, not wearing her seat belt and going 69 mph in a 25 when she crashed. I wonder of the 13 deaths, how many could have been avoided had the driver been wearing a seat belt/been sober.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Since someone is counting 13 is short of Toyota’s 21 deaths in SUA where we know there was a Toyota problem.

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

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        That’s interesting. An organization staffed largely by flacks, pr hacks and lawyers finds Toyota has “spaghetti code,” where real engineers from the likes of NASA found nothing to criticize.

        Thanks for bringing this valuable information to our attention.

      • 0 avatar
        noxioux

        Toyota had a moron driver problem, not a true equipment problem. They made the fixes and paid the money to protect their reputation and to get the stupid people to quit running in a circle flapping their arms. Not because there was anything wrong with their cars.

        Not sure I buy the whole “unintended shutoff” thing, either. Maybe it was a defect, and caused cars to shut down, which justifies the recall. But having your car spontaneously shut off shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re completely inept, and ought not to be driving anyway.

        Unless said switch malfunction locks the steering (which I haven’t heard yet). That would be nasty.

        But if the government’s going to go on a witch-hunt because Prius drivers are too moronic to hit the off switch, then I guess they’ll have to hammer GM for people who are too stupid to know what to do when their car spontaneously hits it’s own off switch.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Seriously, have you SEEN the sort of people who are driving the models affected currently?

          ‘Nuff said.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Ah, but in America, no one is ever responsible for their own stupidity and bad decisions.

          It is always the manufacturer’s fault.

        • 0 avatar
          kjb911

          I have taken a few Cobalt’s in trade lately and while it is easier to turn the ignition key off than most cars I have to agree that this is down to mostly consumer error it seems as not once did the ignition cylinder turn off without me fooling around with the fob and applying pressure that honestly I would trust on any cylinder. The steering wheel did not lock on the model when I turned the car off intentionally and I was still able to manuver the vehicle…YMMV and GM is liable but I feel that it comes more to driver inexperience and reliance on power assist.

          • 0 avatar
            ellomdian

            My GF’s dad was incredibly anal about this. O/C, he was an old-school MB mechanic, and excessive wear on ignition tumblers is just another in a long list of things that can go wrong when you keep your car from back then for 200k miles.

            Then again, my dad was an ASE domestic guy, and he lodged the same complaints against my mom. We had small quick-connects on all the keys, and when they started the car, they would just take off the house keys and whatnot and drop them in a cupholder.

            Now I see people (mostly women…) with keychains that would have put the janitor to shame back in school. It’s laughable.

      • 0 avatar
        zach

        SUA can happen in any car if the driver mashes the gas instead of the brake, my non drive by wire ’01 Camry can do it as well.

      • 0 avatar
        zach

        Hmmm NASA or Class action lawyer, hmmmm!

      • 0 avatar
        Zekele Ibo

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

        I have doubts about the impartiality / objectivity of the quoted website and the “Safety Research & Strategies, inc.” organization, which appears to be run by or linked to litigation lawyers rather than safety experts. I would be interested to find out more so I can better evaluate their credibility. Anyone know if this is a front or a serious organization?

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        The only person counting is you, since you CONSTANTLY bring up the death toll and subliminally brag saying “see our’s isn’t as bad”.

        Zekele Ibo, SafetyResearch is funded by trail lawyers who are suing Toyota. That alone should tell you everything.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    I believe the switches moved when there were additional keys/weights/etc hung on the ignition key, which under certain conditions caused the ignition switch to change positions and kill the engine.

    There is no person in the multiverse who loathes GM more than I, but I am not really sure that this is really a defect. Really, is there a spec on how much junk should be allowed to hung into the key that’s controlling your car’s ignition?

    And besides, when Joan Claybrook enters the picture..she who would fail a high school algebra class, let along get through even the most rudimentary engineering curriculum…sorry, but I don’t buy a thing that idiotess and her clueless minions say.

    • 0 avatar
      Xafen

      In my manual, not a GM, it clearly states, don’t put too much stuff on the ring, or this could happen.

      Pretty clear. Is there nothing like that in GM manuals?

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Who doesn’t have extra junk on their key ring? How could GM not expect to find extra junk on people’s key rings?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        But if a person chooses to put extra junk on their key ring than they should also accept the unintended consequences of their actions.

        That said, this problem could happen to any vehicle using a key and lock cylinder to activate/deactivate the ignition switch.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          “That said, this problem could happen to any vehicle using a key and lock cylinder to activate/deactivate the ignition switch.”

          Yet it doesn’t

          • 0 avatar
            SayMyName

            +1. It only happens in poorly-designed, pre-bailout General Motors products.

            And we wonder why a majority of Americans wanted to kill this company when we had the chance…

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            SayMyName, I hoped that the same fate that Chrysler experienced would happen to GM. It didn’t.

            Some people (the UAW) liked the bailouts, and in fact, thrived on them.

            Other people paid the bill for the bailout. If you’re a tax payer, you paid for it.

            If you believe in bailouts, handouts and nationalization, you buy GM.

            If you don’t, you buy something else. If you want to buy American, you buy Ford.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            mkirk, it does. I’ve owned domestic vehicles where the use of an ignition key was optional because everything was worn out.

            This went all the way back to the instrument-panel mounted ignition keys of Chevy,Ford and Mercury vehicles I owned over the decades.

            My parents kept the cars so long because they passed each car down from kid to kid in my family.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          Did GM design and test the car the way people actually use it?

          When people leave the house, they grab “their keys.” To make sure they don’t forget a particular key, then often carry them all on the same ring (or carabiner or whatever).

          We’re not talking about hanging bowling balls from the steering column, here, and I’m frankly very surprised that an amount of keys one would willingly carry in their pocket or handbag could be enough weight to cause the lock to fail.

          Stuff happens. It seems there was a screwup in the supply chain and the part wasn’t as robust as initially tested or spec’ed. OK… something bad happens. But when you find out there’s a problem, what you do next is important. GM didn’t get ahead of this, in spite of the known potential for harm.

          As it happens, one of my kids’ GM cars is malfunctioning today; it won’t start. In searching the web for ideas, I found many complaints related to the ignition switch. It seems likely to me that GM should have recalled these as a customer satisfaction issue, anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Kix, I have owned GM products where the use of the ignition key was optional because everything wore out.

            But I also owned Ford and Chrysler products where the same had happened. No big deal.

            Because people were killed driving these cars that makes it a big deal now, and all of a sudden someone/something needs to be blamed, just like with the Toyota SUA scam where Toyota failed to recognize that most US drivers have Insufficient User IQ to operate a motor vehicle safely.

            “We’re not done with Toyota yet! cried the US government. Well, we’ve been done with GM since it died in 2009, only to have it revived and put on life support to keep the UAW propped up as a reward for putting the current administration in office.

            Hey, I don’t like GM. I owned their sh!t before, but let’s blame the stupid drivers instead of GM.

            Then again, GM has deep pockets, no? Like Toyota? And GM can always get another bailout, yah?

            Sure GM and other domestic products were badly engineered. That’s a given, but they did meet US DOT Specs at the time they were built.

        • 0 avatar
          zach

          I’ve never seen it happen even on cars carrying a pound of keys and junk. “Accept the unitended consequences” keys, really? GM knew about this before this heap was even unleashed onto the public.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            zach, I have owned a bunch of GM and other domestic brand vehicles and never had any problems with the ignition key lock.

            Probably because I use a different key chain for each vehicle and don’t weigh down the key rings with a ton of danglies.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            HDC,

            Your point being what? That if one buys a GM vehicle, they should treat every bit of it as gingerly as possible? I’d have to agree.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Kix, when we buy whatever it is we buy, of our own choosing, we accept that whatever mandates and safety features prescribed by the US DOT (and other foreign DOTs) at the time have been incorporated and adhered to in the vehicle we buy.

            I was wary of buying my first new Toyota product just like I was when I bought domestic products for the previous decades.

            But I like what I got with Toyota.

            I knew what to expect when I bought the domestics–toil and trouble. This ignition key thing is no different.

            There’s an old saying, “Caveat Emptor” (Let the buyer beware), and when you buy domestic, expect the worse and be pleasantly surprised when you don’t have any trouble.

            Like I am pleasantly surprised with my wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee. But if it breaks, like all the other Chrysler-crap cars of yore, I take it is stride.

            And I fully expect it to happen.

            Truth be told, I’d rather have a Toyota product now than anything else because they’re better engineered AND Toyota will make me whole again if anything goes wrong because of US suppliers cutting corners, like the CTS gas pedals, rusting frames, and broken welds on front half-shafts.

      • 0 avatar
        koshchei

        Attaching the scalps of my fallen enemies to my keyring is my constitutionally protected right as a ‘MURKAN.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      GM had a spec for the amount of torque necessary to turn the lock cylinder. The parts did not all meet it, apparently. The design is not at issue.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Maybe a supplier cutting corners, eh?

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          Hard to tell. Perhaps a cost reduction initiative introduced variation, or they simply didn’t have the necessary process verifications in place to assure only good parts could be made and shipped. I have no info at all on current issues.

          I recall an incident as the ’80 X car brake recall was getting press. The issue with the cars was they could lock the rear brakes too easily under no load aggressive stops because the brakes were designed for good stopping distances with passengers in the car. The recall was to make the rear brake pads less aggressive, actually deteriorating braking performance over all to reduce the sensitivity.
          An owner had heard about the recall on the Oldsmobile Omega (our X car),and brought a 103,000 mile, ’69 Cutlass to the dealer to see the factory rep (me), alleging it had “bad brakes ;like the recall”. He was so confident that Oldsmobile would pay off, he didn’t bother to wait, rented a Ford Thunderbird across the street and took off!
          He was disappointed when I informed him his drum brakes had not only worn completely through the linings, but through the backing plate as well! I told him the dealer would be glad to replace all the parts at his expense and that Oldsmobile did not have any liability.

          He was one of several cases that came to my attention in my district recorded as incidents in the NHTSA data base. As the press on the X cars skyrocketed, so did the alleged incidents.
          I’d bet a dollar to a donut that played a significant part in Toyota’s SUA debacle.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I know what you mean and I understand about the lower than specced torque ratings delivered by the supplier.

            But I wonder about if the product met DOT requirements at the time of production and installation in the recalled cars.

            Even with a change to design specs, if the units were within what the DOT specified as acceptable, then GM should not be held accountable.

            Which brings us to the delay in the recall. It is reasonable to think that GM’s beancounters may have weighed the cost of the recall against the need for one IF the units met DOT standards at that time.

            I am not defending GM but GM may have been laboring under the belief that they would not be liable if they had adhered to DOT standards.

            If DOT changes specs after the fact and applies liability retroactively, even in a behind-the-scenes unofficial tete-a-tete with GM’s current brass, then it all becomes a CYA campaign to mitigate the losses anticipated by the court cases.

            We’ve seen this before, throughout the automotive history of the US, where the DOT and NHTSA have found vehicles unsafe after the fact when in fact those vehicles met or exceeded all the mandated specifications and requirements at the time of production.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            I doubt there is a DOT spec for ignition key turning torque.

            To say the flaw kills people is ridiculous!

            They have to be involved in a crash, not wearing a seat belt, and then have the issue cause the ignition to turn off just before impact.

            The facts are that a small number of cases have been “linked” to the issue. It is not reasonable to presume the occupants would have survived the crashes even if the air bags deployed.

            For decades, vehicles didn’t even have air bags!

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            But now they do have airbags and number and placement are used in advertising to help sell the vehicle.

            And the airbag is useless if it doesn’t fire. Which leads to a death or more serious injury that could have been avoided.

            Give it up, Olds. GM blew it. They might take a worse beating than they strictly deserve but they screwed up.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            I am not saying GM didn’t screw up,just trying to bring a voice of calm and reason to the discussion.

            The potential failure of a safety device doesn’t alter the fact that a crash was involved in the first place. The cause of the death was the crash.

            Assuming that supplemental inflatable restraints would make the difference between life and death is not reasonable. People still die in airbag crashes too.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Side airbags were about a $400 option back then on all economy cars like this , Corolla, Sentra, Civic… So if the collision was anything but head on it probably won’t much weight. Add in no seat belts, offroad at a high speed, and alcohol and it is a deadly mix many cars wouldn’t protect from.

      • 0 avatar
        eamiller

        At least Doc Olds is one of the few people in this discussion thread who read and understood the description of what happened.

        Delphi built ignition switches with lower than spec torque ratings. The design was changed mid-cycle to meet the GM specification.

        All the whinging about heavy keychains in this thread misses the point completely. It seems that the cars built since the design change was made don’t exhibit the problem, therefore placing the blame on the customers is incorrect.

        I guess that doesn’t make for good flamebait though.

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          Exactly, well said. GM isn’t even being blamed for the bad cylinder, it’s being blamed for not performing a recall for a part they knew to be substandard that caused a reproducible problem.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Do the liabilities for this defect transfer to post bankruptcy “New GM” or stay with pre-bankruptcy “Old GM?” I was under the impression that most warranty, environmental, financial, factories, and other problems/mistakes/liabilities were stuffed into the old corporation and creditors were left to pick at what remains of the carcass.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what I’m wondering. And indeed if the liability falls onto “Motors Liquidation Co.” (old GM)…will that cause a renewed and even more strident visceral reaction against GM and the bailout/bankruptcy?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Liability is based upon the date of the incident. If the crash happened after mid-2009, then the new GM is on the hook. The crashes that occurred before the BK go to the old company.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Is that unique to the peculiarities of the GM bankruptcy? My understanding was that usually when a company goes BK claims regarding products made prior to the BK filing turn the claimant into just another BK creditor.

        If that is the case, these are “old GM’ cars and the claimants would be SOL.

        Of course, for better or worse, GM’s was no ordinary BK.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The liability was in the purchase and sale agreement. That was particular to this case.

          Doc Olds is right about the recall liability going to the new company. That could make things a bit muddy; how exactly does a company take responsibility for the warranty aspects of the pre-2009 cars without assuming the crash liability?

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            to hazard a guess without profound knowledge- New GM is responsible to investigate, identify remedies, develop and implement recalls, including all associated costs.

            Settlement of lawsuits and costs above and beyond those activities are the responsibility of Liquidation Motors. I don’t recall for sure.

            I have a fuzzy recollection that a fund was set aside to pay for cases such as these, assuming they are settled or found to have merit in court.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The new GM wanted a fresh start, but wanted to keep the old trade name going for obvious reasons, like profiting from the old company’s fame, legacy and so forth. That it’s a good plan in that sense.

            I’m a bit familiar with taking over an existing business and using the old company’s name. It’s a good idea to change the name, for legal reasons and that includes existing warranties and other possible claims. Or you take the good with the bad.

            But is it different for companies surviving through BK?

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      New GM retained responsibility for recalls of pre- ’09 products.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Seems like the sh*tty end of the stick for New GM. So if a 2010 batch of Twinkies is found to have poison in them, is Metropoulos & Co., who bought the rights to Twinkies, responsible?

        http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/news/companies/twinkies-return/

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          Well, they didn’t have to agree to the bailout if they didn’t like the terms. In any event, why not accept responsibility? In 2003, El Lutzbo assured us that GM’s quality was second to none. Seems like GM’s judgement was that agreeing to this was low risk.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            If GM wants to shove their 100 year “heritage” down our throats every chance they get, and they do, then they better be prepared to back up their heritage when it goes bonkers. Can’t have it both ways.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Can’t we just praise the bailout and say that was the old GM and all the bad things and bad people from this were sold off as part of Bad GM and Good GM is a perfect angel? Isn’t that the media spin way?

  • avatar
    65corvair

    My Ford Fiesta has electric power steering. Turn off the engine and remove the key while the car is moving, the power steering still works. Haven’t tried the air bags!

    • 0 avatar
      zach

      Hey don’t test the airbags!!! I guess the battery supplies direct current to the steering motor when the key id off, seems like a logical safety feature.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        That was the case in times past; you had to remove the battery and wait something like 30 minutes for the residual power in capacitors and whatnot to discharge before working on the airbag system or risk an accidental deployment.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Good question on “junk” for which I have no good answer. However, even in my family, I have just a house key attached to my car keys…whilst my wife has…well…a whole LOT of stuff.

    What’s the limit? Even if the switch held for large weights, one would have the typical lawyer suing for someone who had 8″ of “stuff” hanging on the key…stuff which limited his/her right leg in some manner…causing an accident. Badda bing, badda boom…it’s GM’s fault. As one who endured GM’s worst engineering for years before discovering the Japanese, I still am more inclined to defend GM than Claybrook – a science flunkout if ever there was one.

    As a test pilot…we had stated limits…and we tested to those and beyond. However, the “beyond” sessions were – shall we say – a bit likely to result in interesting times.

    And in any case, the switch is designed to have that key. More than that is “who knows”?

  • avatar
    zach

    Now there is a Cobalt worth something, too bad I have NEVER seem an SS sedan.

  • avatar
    zach

    “I know GM is trying to turn itself around” You mean the tax payers that funded the “little” project.

  • avatar
    zach

    I bought my sister’s 2001 Camry when they outgrew it, she had a TON of $hit hanging on the keychain and it never harmed the ignition, much less turned the thing off, this Cobalt weakness is just that.

  • avatar

    GM says that the switches didn’t meet spec on the torque needed to rotate the key in the tumbler. I’m interested how both Delphi and GM’s quality control procedures failed to notice the problem until long after the parts were installed.

    This is a separate issue from how GM reacted once they knew there was a problem, and in some ways it’s more troubling because it goes to the reliability of components in the first place.

    With all the QC procedures that have been proven to work over the past few decades, it’s hard to believe how such faulty components could have been delivered to the customer and then installed.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Wasn’t there a good deal of chaos at Delphi during this time period? It seemed as though every other week I was reading about Delphi going bankrupt and the bitter struggle to reorganize it. That may account for any slip-ups at Delphi.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    “Other people paid the bill for the bailout. If you’re a tax payer, you paid for it.

    If you believe in bailouts, handouts and nationalization, you buy GM.

    If you don’t, you buy something else. If you want to buy American, you buy Ford”

    Really?

    SO, taxpayer-funded ‘incentives’ for transplants in the South are OK.

    Yes, the US taxpayers bailed out GM and Chrsyler. And you know what? If they had not, Ford would have gone under, because too many of Ford’s suppliers would’ve collapsed if GM went out of business.

    Foreign countries subsidize their manufacturers. States do it.

    If one really wants to help the US economy, one buys a US-branded car assembled in a US plant using mostly US-sourced parts. A Cadillac CTS, Dodge Viper, Chevy Traverse, Chev/GMC Suburban

    Toyota and Honda generate most of their profits in the US. To their credit, Accords and Camrys have a lot of US content. But, how much US Federal Income Tax do they pay? They get/got a lot of subsidies from states that the Detroit Three don’t get.

    • 0 avatar
      84Cressida

      Tax breaks to Toyota to create jobs and BAILING OUT AN OUT OF BUSINESS CORPORATION are two entirely different things.

      • 0 avatar
        SayMyName

        Exactly. In the simplest terms:

        Subsidies = taking due advantage of a government program or money because it’s being offered. Student loans, et al. Nice to have, but your existence isn’t dependent on whether they say “yes” or not.

        Bailout = going on welfare and food stamps because you have failed to maintain the basic minimum requirements to assure your own survival. Some might argue that society is under no obligation to help you in that scenario…

    • 0 avatar
      SpinnyD

      http://www.stock-analysis-on.net/NYSE/Company/Toyota-Motor-Corp/Analysis/Income-Taxes

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    It seems there is some confusion over what GM post bankruptcy is liable for. GM has every single responsibility to cover and support all of the products made before bankruptcy (ignoring the fact Cobalts were in production post bankruptcy).

    The only thing the BK did was allow them to throw out previous liability and lawsuits made before the bankruptcy, it doesn’t stop new ones from coming and it never made them not responsible if it hits the fan for their old cars.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    Define “extra junk.” How much is too much? And if this is the issue, why doesn’t it happen on other cars?

    John

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Meanwhile the ignition switch on my 1967 is all original, good and solid to turn, and the vehicle has nearly 200,000 miles on it.

    Quit cheapening out, automakers!

  • avatar
    seanx37

    While the old GM/new GM arguments are interesting…who cares? Someone knew about this problem for a decade. Both at old GM and new GM. And people died. No one did anything about it. Sounds like negligent homicide to me. Throw a few GM execs in prison. If corporations are legally people, then they should go to jail for their crimes.

  • avatar
    zach

    “old” GM and “new” GM knew about it, they aren’t saints just because they took the tax payer for a ride.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    I had my friend call about her car and the dealership played it off like they don’t have to fix it. Is the recall not in action yet?

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Eventually Ford is going to have the same egg on their face for failures of their electric power steering.

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    This isn’t about stupid people and their heavy keychains full of junk. It’s math. Torque = Force x Distance …

    Let’s assume that all the when the key is in the “RUN” position, the key ring is pulled to the end of the long slot in the ignition key, and all of the weight of the keychain is hanging from the end of the slot. The torque applied to the lock cylinder by the key chain is a function not only of the weight of the keychain, but the ‘angle’ of the key, relative to vertical, which defines the “distance” in the equation (i.e. if key is vertical, or if the key has only a hole, there’s no ‘distance’ and no torque; if key is near horizontal, that’s max. distance and max. torque.)

    So weigh a “heavy” key chain, assume the distance from the center of the key to the edge of the slot is 12 mm, and measure the angle of the key when it’s in the RUN position, and the torque generated by the weight of the key chain is: T = Force * sin(key angle) * 12 mm.

    We know that the torque needed to rotate the cylinder from the RUN position was below GM’s specification (and that’s bad enough as it is,) but what if the angle of the key when it’s in the RUN position is more ‘horizontal’ than what it is in other cars? (or the column is tilted up.) That would exacerbate the problem, and you’d have a “hair trigger” situation, where bumping the key or a driving on a rough road could shut the car off. It’s bad enough when people stomp on the wrong pedal (SUA,) but most drivers are going to have a tough time maintaining control when a car suddenly loses power steering. The 13 people who’ve died may have had heavy key chains for a variety of reasons (self defense batons, medical alert tags, etc.,) and they probably drove a lot of different cars over the course of thousands of miles without any issue … until they met Cobalt.

  • avatar
    zach

    Excess keys are annoying imho ,enter Cobalt and they’re deadly.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Low buck GM’s never really turned me on :)


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