GM Hotshot Recall Blamed On Chinese Parts

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Remember GM’s Heated Windshield Washer Fire Fiasco? The one where the “Hotshot” unit got so hot that cars went up in flames? It sounded like it was a dispute between GM and the now defunct Microheat. Our friends at Carquestions did a little investigative reporting. Result? The part that caused a recall of 1.5m GMs comes from GM’s largest market: China. “But they didn’t happen to mention that in any of the recall documents the did submit to NHTSA,” says Carquestions.

Carquestions thinks they know why GM doesn’t want to emphasize the provenance of the part: “The’ve been doing pretty well in China.”

How did Carquestions find out? They followed GM’s supply chain with good old journalistic legwork: They looked at the label on the part. Nobody else bothered to. But watch the video. There is more. And it looks like there will be a part two of the saga.

Join the conversation
6 of 34 comments
  • Mythicalprogrammer Mythicalprogrammer on Jun 22, 2010

    So the Chinese did a crappy job designing it and GM was too lazy to test the unit out. What a great pair of idiots. Maybe GM will learn from this? Probably not, they would rather cut corners and save time testing units I guess. It doesn't actually save money if crap like this happens though.

    • Steven02 Steven02 on Jun 22, 2010

      The part wasn't designed in China. The part should also be tested by the supplier before they try to sell it. Design defects like this costs the suppliers a large amount of money. Testing of this unit obviously wasn't where it needed to be.

  • Big_gms Big_gms on Jun 22, 2010

    That electrical tape wrapped around one of the wires looks like cloth, looks really sloppy and closely resembles some of the 90+ year old wiring in my house. Seriously. In other words, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence. I was shocked to see that come from under the hood of a modern car. I wonder if all of those units really look as bad as this one. Just a random observation...maybe relevant, maybe not.

    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Jun 22, 2010

      Friction tape is a very good material. Unlike corrugated plastic tubing, friction tape is easier to install, rarely comes loose, and never chafes the jacket of the harness ... often times harnesses are wrapped with adhesiveless PVC tapes (no adhesive makes it easier to bend the harness during installation, the tape binds the bundle together, makes it easier to pull, and protects it against scuffing during installation.) But, in the case were there tight radii may want to be formed, and maintained, in the bundle, as well as protecting the bundle from a minor risk of scuffing due to vibration in-situ, friction tapes are a feasible, reasonable, and affordable alternative to other solutions.

  • Mr Carpenter Mr Carpenter on Jun 22, 2010

    Here is part #2 and it is even more interesting than part #1. Individual components badly made, poorly designed, and p*ss poor dealerships are why I gave GM the heave-ho finally in 1999, and why I gave Chrapster the heave-ho in 2003. Ford I gave up on earlier than that, even. So due to the fact that I had no AMC, Packard, International, or for that matter - Reo, Hupmobile, Studebaker or other American brands to choose from, I kind of either had to go buy a horse & Amish buggy, or go buy foreign brands. I've had two South Korean made cars (both of which were well above the standards of the American brands, some of which were made in Mexico - 1999 Neon being the LAST), two Hyundais made in Montgomery Alabama (some of the best cars I've ever owned in 36 years) and a couple of Japanese made Toyotas (some of the best cars I've ever owned in 36 years), and now have a US made Subaru (which has been flawless). Hopefully, Hyundai, Toyota, Subaru, Honda, Nissan and other such companies will source components wisely and engineer them well ongoing into the future. If they do not, then I'll be looking at those nags and buggies because I'm rapidly running out of car companies....

  • Carquestions Carquestions on Jun 22, 2010

    My major concern is twofold. 1. These vehicles need to have the module removed immediately, waiting for a couple days, weeks or months is not an option. 2. The thousands of vehicles that will not recieve any notification due to ownership changes, address changes etc. The vehicle I used never recieved the first recall notice or the second even though the GM dealer that sold it still has the correct contact info on file. In the interest of public safety there should be a public announcement played over a series of days - not a 30 second GM PR clip that fails to mention the immediate risk. The video is posted on Ray Lahood's Facebook page so lets see what he can do