By on June 26, 2014

Violet GM RenCen

In today’s General Motors digest: An ignition-related issue is quietly fixed years before the February 2014 recall; a Chinese supplier is blamed for defective switches recalled in June; Ally prepares to take flight from the Beltway; and Mark Reuss helps bring back a Corvette stolen 33 years ago.

Automotive News reports two design flaws in switches used on the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion allowed the key to slip out of the casing while the engine still had power. The flaws were investigated twice in November 2004 and June 2005, prompting supplier Ortech to modify the shape and size of the ignition lock cylinder based on the findings. However, consumers weren’t notified of this particular change until a recall notice was issued in April 2014. The design change was implemented in 2006, according to GM.

In related news, Reuters reports the recall of 3.4 million vehicles earlier this month by GM was due to a defective ignition switch made by Chinese supplier Dalian Alps Electronics. Unlike the similar situation affecting 2.6 million vehicles recalled in February, the automaker has opted to replace or rework the keys to eliminate a slot that would allow a ring to shift to one side, pulling the switch out of the “run” position. Parent company Alps Electric claims that while Dalian did make the part, the subsidiary manufactured the switch based on GM’s designs, and that neither party had received word or complaint from the automaker about the issue.

On the financial front, Automotive News says Ally Financial, the former financial wing of GM under the name GMAC Financial, is one step closer to corporate independence from ownership by the United States Treasury when two of the remaining three Treasury-nominated board members step down from the board during the lender’s annual shareholder conference July 17. Ally hopes to be out from government ownership by the end of 2014, allowing the lender to regain access to bank deposits in funding subprime loans, benefiting both it and its dealership network due to the low costs in using bank deposits over more expensive funding tools. Currently, the Treasury owns 16 percent of Ally, down from 63 percent at the start of 2014, and 37 percent prior to the lender’s IPO in April.

Finally, WXYZ-TV reports GM’s executive vice president of global product development Mark Reuss has offered to bring home a 1979 Chevrolet Corvette that was stolen 33 years ago from its owner, George Talley, at GM’s expense. Earlier this week, AAA called Talley to inform him the car was found in good condition in Hattiesburg, Miss. after a falsified VIN tipped off authorities to the car’s whereabouts. Reuss made the offer to Talley during an interview with WJR-AM’s Paul W. Smith, and the Corvette is expected to come home within the next few days.

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2 Comments on “GM Ignition Issues Pile Up From Within, Abroad...”


  • avatar
    wmba

    It’s getting confusing. First we hear ignition switches, designed by GM and made by Delphi, rotate easily to OFF.

    Now, all of a sudden, we hear of ignition switches made by Ortech (whoever they are) where the key falls out and the engine is left ON. Despite being fixed in 2006, there is now a recall on them. Huh?

    All in the same cars, apparently, unless your switch was made by ALPS, designed by GM of course, where the key “shape” allows it to slip from the RUN position and may be in cars other than Cobalts.

    If you own a certain Cobalt, could you have all faults in one car? I mean, what is going on?

    Anyway, the suppliers just make what the automaker designs for them. And barring mis-manufacture like Takata air bags, no wonder the suppliers are bewildered at getting blamed. And rightly cheesed off in some cases, I’ll wager.

  • avatar
    eamiller

    It’s confusing because the article is confusing. There are two components to the ignition assembly, the electrical switch and the lock cylinder that rotates the switch once the correct key is inserted. In this case, the cylinder is defective and doesn’t retain the key when the switch is on. Not that this is a new problem, GM cars in particular (from the 80s and 90s) are known for wearing down and allowing the key to be removed while on.


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