"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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