By on February 1, 2010

Say what? GM has no problem kicking Toyota when its down, offering conquest cash to craven Toyota owners who might be tempted to flee the brand in the midst of recall mania, but its own handling of the situation deserves some analysis. After all, GM confirms that its Pontiac Vibe is assembled at the GM-Toyota NUMMI joint venture using the CTS-sourced pedal assembly that allegedly causes unintended acceleration. And yet The General went on the record last Friday [via Automotive News [sub]] essentially claiming that its Toyota Matrix rebadge was magically safe from the dread terrors afflicting its Toyota-badged cousin. Now GM has revised its statement on the Vibe, admitting that since the Toyota recall, it has received several complaints about sticking accelerators on Vibes (although no related wrecks have been reported). Better late than never… unless you’re making the pitch that consumers should choose you over Toyota because you will take better care of them. [UPDATE: GM reports that the Vibe’s brakes can stop the vehicle. Go figure]

Per AN [sub]:

GM spokesman Alan Adler has said the Detroit automaker believes Toyota is responsible for the recall. Toyota designed, engineered and manufactured the Vibe, he said earlier this week.

But Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said GM was responsible for Pontiac Vibe recalls, since GM had sourced pedals from supplier CTS to build the Vibe as part of the joint venture, called New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or NUMMI.

Adler took issue with Toyota’s stance.

“We have no supplier relationship with CTS whatsoever,” Adler said. He said GM expects Toyota to pay for fixing Vibes.

Score this one as yet another reason why it’s so incredibly convenient for GM to maintain the impression that NUMMI was a Toyota plant that GM just so happened to participate in. This perception has worked to divert anger from GM, with the help of the UAW, by passing off the lie that the NUMMI shutdown was a Toyota decision, rather than a reasonable reaction to GM’s bailout-era pullout from the joint venture. And now we have the second piece: GM didn’t develop the Vibe at all, so any malfunctions are Toyota’s fault. Which is actually a more reasonable position than GM’s initial perspective, which was that the Pontiac badge somehow made the Vibe safe even though the Matrix wasn’t.

In any case, GM now says that it will be contacting Vibe owners, and warns that any malfunctioning Vibes should be taken to the nearest GM shop. Where GM expects Toyota to pay for its repair, natch.

Meanwhile, other automakers are scrambling to check their exposure to the allegedly faulty CTS-sourced pedal unit. Peugeot-Citroen is recalling 100k Peugeot 107/Citroen C1 models that were built at a Toyota JV plant in the Czech Republic, according to AFP. Highlighting how widespread these upstream supplier quality problems can become, Renault has only just confirmed [via Reuters] that none of its vehicles use the recalled assembly, after launching an investigation over the weekend.

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33 Comments on ““Based on GM’s experience, the Vibe is safe to drive.” Or Not....”


  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Question for all the Pro-GM apologists:

    How’s that crow tasting?

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      I might be called a “GM apologist”. Odd, I don’t see any crow on my dinner plate.

      Toyota has denied, cheated, distorted, and out right lied, through out this whole mess. What about the floor mat issue? Or, the just stupid drivers that can’t tell the brake from the gas?

      Did Toyota ever come out, and admit they were forced by the NHTA to shut down? Or did they let people believe that the shut down was was from thier own sense of corporate responsibility?

      Its common knowledge that a Vibe is in fact a Matrix. How many times has that been mentioned in one of the GM bashers comments?

      This little fix Toyota has dreamed up,who do you suppose will get the parts first? The factories, or the owners that are afraid to drive thier cars?

      I will promise you, those plants will be fired up,while thier custumers “wait thier turn”

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      “Its common knowledge that a Vibe is in fact a Matrix.”

      Not to the customers, it isn’t. GM put their name to the car (rightly or wrongly) it is, therefore, their responsibility. You can’t put your name to anything and then blame someone else when something goes wrong!

      Likewise, Peugeot-Citroen, who put their names to a Toyota product, issued a recall, but are looking to Toyota to fix the problem. What they are not doing is saying “Well, it was Toyota’s engineering, therefore, it’s their problem”.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      From the “Guilt By Association Department” Toyota presents exhibit A – GM (a.k.a. Government Motors).

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Full disclosure – GM employee speaking my own opinion here.

      The details of the Toyota/ GM joint venture regarding Matrix/ Vibe and NUMMI are confidential. All of us can only go by what is publicly disclosed in official releases by the two companies.

      If GM is saying they are waiting for instructions from Toyota regarding the fix, then GM is probably saying that the terms of the JV show that Toyota is design responsible.

      Regarding the safety of the Vibe and Matrix for that matter, how many unintended acceleration incidents have been reported for either car before Jan. 21, 2010? Are NHTSA records public?

  • avatar
    njoneer

    Wrong answer

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    1984 GM press release: Check out our new JOINT venture with Toyota where two of the world largest automakers join together to engineer and build the worlds greatest cars.

    2010 GM press release: We have nothing to do with the problems associated with cars built at NUMMI. Toyota engineers/builds the cars for us. We just stick our badges on them.

    Wonder if Government Motors will give a $1000 incentive to buy a REAL GM car to the poor schmucks that bought a “Pontiac” Vibe.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Anyone who wanted to state that that Toyota’s problem showed that they have become just like GM in their responsiveness to customers, has just received a demonstration of the differences between the two companies.

    Sigh. I really want to root for GM. I love the CTS…. but as usual the long-term quality isn’t there. It’s true that it’s not there on my BMW either, but BMW keeps me quiet and happy by paying for all repairs and maintenence for 4 years/ 50 K miles.

    GM blames somebody else.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I’m sure this will be handled with GM’s usual sensitivity to consumer safety, and dedication to product reliablity.

  • avatar
    Ion

    Wouldn’t any lawsuits toward Pontiac fall under “old” GM’s responsibility?

  • avatar
    Ernie

    The sad part: this is probably the most reliable vehicle that GM’s sold since the last-year “S” Saturns.

    I’m guessing much lower sales numbers are the reason for ‘less incidents’ — or possibly that our expectations are inherently lower?

    At any rate – nice to see a quick turnaround after the “I’m not afraid of sharks” comment :)

  • avatar
    ott

    Lokki,

    I think you are confused. The pedal assembly is not FROM a CTS, it is built by a company CALLED CTS. Just an unfortunate coincidence. The CTS (by Cadillac) is not in any way attached to this fiasco. So keep on loving it. I too had a chuckle when GM was kicking sand in Toyota’s face by offering customers cash to trade in their Toyota death traps for a GM vehicle–and then I remembered the Vibe. –Dammit!

  • avatar
    4runner

    Edward,

    The proliferation of these “. . . or not” headlines is extremely annoying. Either it happened or it didn’t. Please make the call as you see it and post it.

    • 0 avatar

      GM said that the Vibe was safe, then said it wasn’t, and is once again implying that it is safe, so let’s not pretend that this headline reflects our unwillingness to take a position on the issue… it is specifically intended to show the changes in GM’s position. In other words, we are unambiguous in our reporting of GM’s ambiguity.
      That having been said, we live to serve you, our loyal readers, and we certainly will make our best efforts to keep headlines fresh, accurate and diverse.

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      or not. ;O)

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    So if I trade in a Pontiac Vibe for a Cadillac CTS, will I still get the $1000.00 bonus?

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      If you truly have a Pontiac Vibe and are ready to trade it for a Cadillac CTS, please ask TTAC to forward your email address to me. GM has a promotion now where you can get $1000 to $2000 Owner Loyalty cash on specific vehicles in addition to a GM supplier discount I can pass on to friends.

    • 0 avatar
      npbheights

      Christy Garwood, could she be the most ‘on the ball’, ‘decision making level’ GMer in history? Where have you been the past 100 years?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Spiff creep?

      Toyota incentive, then Supplier Discount applicable to everyone?

      Sorry Christy, but is GM firing-up the spiff machine again?

      Is there really any value to “profitless-prosperity”?

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Robert, no spiff creep, they just come and go at various times during the year. The supplier discount is not for everyone all the time. It just so happens that as GM employee, I can share that incentive now.

      RE: profitless prosperity, what data do you have to show that GM is losing money on its sales? I think the next public financial report is due out in March.

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      God bless you, Christy and good luck at GM. One of these days you’ll get sarcasm though.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    It is interesting to point out how open GM has been about this. They had not received any “relevant complaints” (not sure what that means) about this problem. Since the recalls issued by Toyota, they have received several, which is pretty much what their statement says. I am not sure they should have said it was safe, but rather they are investigating with Toyota the finding for the Vibe.

    But the part about NUMMI, I don’t get where you are going with that. It was a Toyota design and engineering. It was manufactured at NUMMI, but it wasn’t a manufacturing problem. This brings a good question into view… if there is a problem say with the VW Routan say with something safety related that effects Chrysler products, who issues the recall and handles it? Who pays for the expenses? I think that is what GM was trying to say when they expect Toyota to handle it.

    This will be interesting to see going forward. When companies combine to build vehicles, what will happen when problems like this come up? Who will fund the problem resolution?

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Since this is not the first recall in history, I would imagine that who would be responsible in such a case would be agreed upon in the beginning of the joint venture.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      ODI Database, Vibe Complaints:
      2009MY:
      – none
      2008MY:
      – 10223277, 3k mi, March 35° no rain, engine raced, brakes ineffective until trans into neutral, singular occurrance;
      2007MY:
      – several scattered complaints including “jerky accl pedal”, “car creeping forward from standstill despite firmly applied brake”, “stalling”, “defective P.C.U” , etc.
      2006MY:
      – 10295818, ? mi, “stalling problem”
      – 10227900, ? mi, “vehicle failed to slow when brakes were applied, swerved to miss traffic, guardrail contact, crash, totalled vehicle, airbag also failed to deploy”
      – 10207504, 10/2006, ? mi, “ENGINE ACCELERATES WHEN BRAKE IS APPLIED. INTERMITTINT PROBLEM.”
      – in addn to above, there are other complaints regarding stalling and engine ECU’s.
      2005MY:
      – 10303536, 02/08, 21k mi, ” TL-THE CONTACT OWNS A 2005 PONTIAC VIBE. THE CONTACT STATED THAT IN 2008, HER VEHICLE SUDDENLY ACCELERATED AND SHE ALMOST RAN INTO A BUILDING. SHE HAD TO DEPRESS THE BRAKES WITH BOTH FEET TO STOP THE VEHICLE. THE ISSUE OCCURRED THREE MORE TIMES SINCE 2008. MOST RECENTLY, THE VEHICLE SUDDENLY BEGAN TO ACCELERATE AFTER START-UP WHILE IN HER DRIVEWAY SO SHE DEPRESSED THE BRAKES AND PUT IT IN HER GARAGE. SHE TOOK THE VEHICLE TO THE DEALERSHIP IN 2008 AND WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE CAUSE. THE DEALER JUST RETURNED THE VEHICLE TO HER BUT SHE CONTINUED TO NOTICE THE PROBLEM. SHE HAD NOT CALLED THE MANUFACTURER TO-DATE. THE CURRENT MILEAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY 32,750. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY 20,500-BK”
      – 10294470, 11/09, 200k mi, “TL*THE CONTACT OWNS A 2005 PONTIAC VIBE. WHILE DRIVING 30 MPH HE WAS UNABLE TO STOP THE VEHICLE WHEN HE ATTEMPTED TO ENGAGE THE BRAKE PEDAL AND COLLIDED INTO THE REAR OF A VEHICLE. THERE WERE NO INJURIES. THE INSURANCE COMPANY CONFIRMED THAT THE VEHICLE WAS DESTROYED. A POLICE REPORT WAS FILED. THE CURRENT AND THE FAILURE MILEAGE WERE 200,000.”
      – 10248674, 11/07, 86k mi, “EVERY SO OFTEN, I WILL GO TO START MY CAR AND IT WILL NOT TURN OVER UNLESS I GUN THE GAS! TOOK IT TO A DEALERSHIP AND THEY SAID THEY REPLACED COME SORT OF CHIP AND SAID THERE WAS A RECALL. IT HAPPENED AGAIN THIS YEAR SO I TOOK IT TO ANOTHER DEALERSHIP. THEY SAID THE FIRST DEALERSHIP LIED TO ME. THERE WERE NO RECALLS AND THE PART THEY REPLACED WAS NOT WHAT WOULD CAUSE MY PROBLEM. CAR JUST DOESN’T WANT TO START SOMETIMES! WELL MAINTAINED. AT 86,000 MILES. I ALSO HAVE PROBLEMS WITH THE CAR IDLING VERY HARD! SHAKES THE WINDOWS SO THEY RATTLE WHEN I STOP THROUGHOUT ANY GIVEN TRIP. DEALERSHIP ALSO TOLD ME THIS WAS NORMAL AS WELL…..I DON’T THINK SO!!!! *TR”

      not related to pedal issue, but nonetheless interesting as dealer/mfgr denied knowing about issue that later provoked a recall… “CONTACT TOOK CAR TO DLR DUE TO A CLICKING NOISE. DEALER STATED THEY COULD NOT HEAR NOISE AND CAR WAS RUNNING NORMALLY. FF DRIVER’S WINDOW EXPLODED. SHE TOOK CAR BACK TO DLR AND HAD WINDOW REPLACED. SHE NOTIFIED MFGR AND INFORMED THEM SHE HAD SAME FAILURE WITH 2004 VIBE. THE MFGR STATED THEY HAD NO RECORD OF FAILURE AND COULD NOT ASSIST.”

      – 10231583, 06/08, ? mi, “HAVE OWNED MY05 VIBE (A/T) FOR 3y, ON 4 SEPARATE OCCASIONS, SIMILAR SPEED CONTROL PROBLEM AS OTHERS(SEE #10117784 05MY & #10207504 06MY). WHILE APPLYING BRAKES AT ALMOST COMPLETE STOP, ENGINE RPM SUDDENLY & UNEXP ACCEL CAUSING CAR TO LURCH FORWARD. PROBLEM OCCURRED 2X WHILE STOPPING AT LIGHT AND 2X ON ENTERING MY GARAGE. I BELIEVE HAD I NOT IMMED SHIFTED INTO P, I WOULD LIKELY HAVE STRUCK BACK WALL OF GARAGE, AND IF CARS HAD BEEN IN INTERSECT, I WOULD HAVE HAD AN ACCIDENT. FOR FIRST 3 INSTANCES,I BELIEVED THAT MY WIDE SHOE MAY HAVE SIMULTANEOUSLY PRESSED ON BRAKE AND ACCELERATOR, HOWEVER, SINCE INCIDENT AT INTERSECTION 7 MO AGO I HAVE BEEN EXTRA CAUTIOUS WHILE BRAKING, ENSURING RT FOOT ONLY PRESSES ON BRAKE PEDAL. IN GARAGE PROBLEM YESTERDAY, AND KNOWING I ONLY PRESSED ON BRAKE, I BELIEVE SOME OTHER PROBLEM GOING ON HERE W/ENGINE THROTTLE. IT WILL NO DOUBT BE DIFFICULT TO DIAGNOSE SINCE IT IS INTERMITTENT. IT IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM W/SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES TO CONSUMERS. NEXT WEEK I WILL TAKE CAR TO GM DEALER SERVICE FOR COMPL INSPEC, BUT MY GUT FEELING IS THIS IS A “HIDDEN” DESIGN PROBLEM THAT MIGHT NOT EASILY BE FOUND. *TR”
      – 10178543, 12/06, ? mi, “ENGINE STARTED RACING WHILE AT LIGHT HAD TO CUT CAR OFF**CC THE DEALER INSTALLED A T/ BODY ASSEMBLY. *JB”
      – 10160912, 06/05, ? mi, “MICE GETTING INTO THE DASH/AIR VENTS. *JB” (Comment R.W.: Everybody has been focussing on bugs in software, or ghosts in the machine, but maybe it is a mouse in the house?)
      – 10117784, 10/04, ? mi, “WHILE APPLYING BRAKES, CAR SUDDENLY AND UNEXPECT ACCEL AND LURCHED FWD. CONSUMER SLAMMED-ON BRAKES TO EFFECT STOP. CAR TAKEN TO DLR, WHO COULD NOT LOCATE CAUSE.*AK”
      2004MY:
      – 10292870, 06/06, ? mi, “WAS AT 65 MPH ON HWY W/CC ON, A CAR PULLED OUT IN FRONT OF ME AND I SLAMMED ON BRAKES. I MISSED CAR BUT INSTEAD OF MY CAR STOPPING, IT ACCELD, DESPITE FORCEFULLY STEPPING ON BRAKES. IT CONTD ACCEL, FISH-TAILING SO MUCH I THOUGHT IT WOULD ROLL. TO STOP I WENT INTO A DITCH AND FIELD. WITNESSES ALSO SAW CAR ACCL WHILE TIRES WERE SKIDDING AS I WAS BRAKING SO HARD. NO DAMAGE TO CAR. BROUGHT CAR DLR AND NOTHING FOUND. DLR TRIED TO REPRODUCE BUT ALL WORKED FINE. I THOUGHT CC WAS PROBLEM SO I AGAIN USED CAR BUT NEVER W CC. THEN, 11/15/09, IN PKG LOT I STEPPED ON BRAKES TO LET A CAR PASS IN FRONT, AND IMMED CAR ACCEL. I PUSHED BRAKE AS HARD AS I COULD BUT CAR CONTD ACCEL. I STARTED TO SHIFT TO N AND LET UP BRAKES. CAR STOPPED AS SOON AS I LET UP BRAKES (AFTER GOING ~20 FT UP EMBANKMENT. AGAIN TO DLR, NOTHING FOUND, NO GUARANTEE AGAINST RECURRANCE. I WON’T DRIVE IT AS I AM SCARED OF WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN. HUSBAND AND I ARE CONSIDERING OUR OPTIONS. *TR”
      – PLUS NUMEROUS REPORTS OF COLD (AND ONE WARM) START ISSUES.
      2003MY:
      – 10140192, 08/05, ? mi, “SUDDEN ACCL AS CONSUMER PLACED IN R, ACCL BKWDS INTO TREE. DID NOT HAVE FOOT ON BRAKE OR ACCL PEDALS. HAPPENED AGAIN W/O FOOT ON BRAKE, COLL PREVENTED BY TURNING OFF ENGINE. CAR TAKEN DLR, NTF. CONSUMER SPOKE W GM, NO EXPLANATION OFFERED. GM NOT RETURNING CONSUMER’S CALLS. CONSUMER CAN’T DRIVE CAR W CONF. NO INJURIES.”
      – 10108408, 01/05, ? mi, “PROBLEM BEGAN 12/04, TROUBLE STOPPING AT HWY RAMP BOTTOM. PUSING HARD ON BRAKE, FNALLY STOPPED, ENGINE RACING AT HIGH RPM, QUICKLY SHIFTED TO N, TACH SHOWED 3500 RPM. THIS HAS HAPPENED 4X SINCE. ON 1/31/05 STOPPING AT BUSY INTERSECT, SHIFTED TO N, ENIGNE AT 5,000 RPM, AFTER A FEW SEC, ENGINE RETURNS TO IDLE. DLR CKD W COMPUTER NO ERROR CODES, NTF. I AM CONCERNED I (OR IF WIFE IS DRIVING) WILL NOT HAVE TIME TO REACT AND HAVE ACCIDENT NEXT TIME. DLR SAID PONTIAC HAD NO REPORTS LIKE MINE. I AM CONCERNED ABOUT THE SAFETY OF MY FAMILY AND OTHERS.*AK”

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      – 10022383, 3/03, ? mi:
      “CONSUMER APPLIED GAS, ENGINE INCREASED SPEED EXCESSIVELY. *AK 3 SEPR INCIDENTS. 1ST ENGINE SUDD ACCEL AT COMPLETE STOP. 2ND AS BRAKES APPLIED TO AVOID REAR ENDING A TRUCK, CAR ACCELD. 3RD WHILE PARALLEL PKG ENGINE WENT FULL THROTTLE, CAR SURGED OVER CURB INTO WALL, CONS SHIFTED TO N, FOOT OFF ALL PEDALS, TURNED OFF IGN, WHICH WAS ONLY WAY TO STOP ENGINE. 4K USD DAMAGE TO CAR. *PH *JB”
      – 10017022, 05/03, ? mi:
      “WHEN BRAKING ENGINE REVS ON OCCASION, DUE TO FAT FOOT, PEDALS TO CLOSE, BRAKE AND GAS EASILY PRESSED AT SAME TIME. CAR HAS M/T AND ALL THAT HAPPENS IS TACH SWINGS UP. PEDALS TO BE FARTHER APART (DON’T BLAME CAR FOR SOMETHING THAT IS YOUR FAULT.) *JB”
      – 10010827, 03/03 RW: too lazy to download and edit verbatum.
      – 10008318, 03/03, (TWO INCIDENTS SAME DAY, TWO DIFF DRIVERS)
      – 10006420, 12/02 RW: too lazy to download and edit verbatum.
      – 766028, ?/?, ? mi:
      “NORMAL DRIVING, AS FOOT REMOVED FROM ACCL PDL FOR GRADUAL SLOW-DOWN CAR SOMETIMES HAS SLIGHT TO MODERATE BURST OF SPEED. CAR RETD TO DLR, DLR W/o LOOKING STATED PROBLEM WOULD BE VERY HARD TO FIND.
      PROBLEM COULD CAUSE ACCIDENTS, DLR SEEMS UNCONCERNED.*AK

      02MY: NO RELATED INCIDENTS.

      So that’s the whole Vibe shooting match (not counting exploding window problems, dash light failures, leaking things, rattling things, transmission shift issues, extreme tire wear or alignment issues, etc.)

      I edited the text to shorten it but to maintain the integrity of the verbatum statements from customers.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    look what it took for GM to own up to the dangerous gas tank behind the seat in its pick ups. They let the dead’s families sue them rather than recall the millions of Chevy and GMCs affected.

    • 0 avatar
      Runfromcheney

      Um, what? Everybody knows that the case of the exploding gas tanks in GM pickup trucks was a crock of bullshit that Dateline cooked up. GM even took them to court and forced them to make a retraction.

    • 0 avatar
      poltergeist

      Um, I think Andy is referring to the 60’s vintage GM trucks that put the fuel tank directly behind the seatback, not the 70’s-80’s vintage trucks that put the fuel tank under the bed outside the frame rails which were the one’s that were the subject of the “Dateline” fiasco.

  • avatar
    GrandCharles

    My vibe still looks better than the Matrix…to me it’s as safe or unsafe as it too (same car)…If this GM was not a Toyota i would not have buyed it so to me this question is irrelevent, as for that pedal problem, i really hope the solution is gonna be final. Many thanks for the article with picture of both assembly, it helped to understand what may be the problem. But is still believe that this thing is computer generated.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Since you are an affected Vibe owner, you should test if the Pontiac has the safety cut-out triggered by the brake, as it was implied by GM. If it does, this would open up a whole other can of worms.

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