"Based on GM's Experience, the Vibe is Safe to Drive." Or Not.

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
based on gm s experience the vibe is safe to drive or not

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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5 of 33 comments
  • Andy D Andy D on Feb 01, 2010

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Poltergeist Poltergeist on Feb 02, 2010

      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.

  • GrandCharles GrandCharles on Feb 01, 2010

    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.

    • MBella MBella on Feb 01, 2010

      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.

  • Tassos The EQS is the best looking BEV, better than even the only Tesla I would ever consider (the S) and more luxurious inside etc etcThe self driving features will come in handy when I'm 110 and my eyesight and reaction times start to suffer.But that's four decades away, and only Tim recommends 40 year old "used cars"
  • Tassos "Baby, Baby light my fire!""Oh God please give me a Kia Forte" --Janis Joplin
  • Tassos The fugly looks of any Subaru, and especially the non-sporty non-elegant, fugly, low-rent looks and interior of the WRX are alone a sufficient turnoff to never want to own one.One can be a 100% car enthusiast but ALSO demand a beautiful AND luxurious vehicle one can be truly proud of and which makes one very happy every time one drives it.The above is obviously totally foreign to Subaru Designers and managers.
  • Thehyundaigarage Am I the only one that sees a Peugeot 508?
  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.