By on March 31, 2014


Over the weekend, General Motors called back an additional 824,000 vehicles whose ignition switches could slip out of the “on” position, cutting power to the engine, brakes and air bags. According to Automotive News, the recall now affects Chevrolet Cobalts and HHRs, Pontiac G5s, and Saturn Ions and Skys made between 2008 and 2011. The reasoning is that while those vehicles were made after the switch was improved in April 2006, some 90,000 vehicles may have received the faulty switch during repairs.

In addition, Detroit Free Press reports GM issued a stop sale order and recall of 190,000 2013 – 2014 Chevrolet Cruzes in the United States and Canada fitted with the gasoline-powered 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo-four. The right front axle half shaft could “fracture and separate without warning” under normal driving conditions, according to the automaker.

Meanwhile, 490,200 2014 Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans and GMC Yukon XLs and Yukons, are being recalled in order to fix a transmission oil cooler line that, if not “securely seated and transmission oil leaks from the fitting,” may cause oil to spill onto hot surfaces, resulting in a fire such as the one experienced earlier this month during a test drive in California earlier this month.

The few who purchased or leased a 2014 Cadillac ELR may also need to bring their vehicles in for service. Detroit Free Press says ELRs made between Sept. 26, 2013 and Valentine’s Day 2014 without adaptive cruise control may suffer from an electronic stability system unable to perform certain diagnostics that would alert the driver if the system was either partially or fully disabled, which then could lead to a crash. GM will recalibrate the electronic brake control module for free in their recall notice, set to be issued April 17.

Speaking of Cadillac, Automotive News reports brand chief and former head lobbyist Bob Ferguson has been sent to Washington, D.C. ahead of two separate congressional hearings over the 2014 ignition recall crisis, helping the automaker to prepare. Though insiders have speculated Ferguson could once again return to D.C. permanently as GM’s vice president of of global public policy, the automaker offered nothing more than what Ferguson was doing for them currently.

Bloomberg, Automotive News and Detroit Free Press report GM has had a difficult time with the ignition switch used in their small cars. The switch had been altered three times in five years, beginning with the inability to start 2003 – 2006 Saturn Ions thanks to a defect related to the car’s Passlock theft-deterrent system. The fix, which included a new part number, led to the headache currently being experienced by the automaker.

However, the fix that would have cured the new switch’s ability to accidentally shut vehicles down — such as the Chevrolet Cobalt — was cancelled in 2005 by GM on the words of a project engineering manager who cited costly tooling and piece prices as reasons not to press forward. The part was approved by GM in 2002, despite Delphi — who made the part for GM — noting the switch did not meet specification, nor did the 2006 ignition that, while preventing the slip issue linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths, was still below what General Motors had requested.

As for the agency responsible for pushing this issue into the spotlight much sooner than 2014, Detroit Free Press says a review by the Associated Press of complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2005 and 2014 found 164 drivers of 2005 – 2007 Chevrolet Cobalts experienced their vehicle shutting down with no warning; only the Toyota Corolla of the same vintage — recalled during the government’s investigation into Toyota in 2010 — saw more complaints.

In addition, an unnamed official who headed the NHTSA’s Defects Assessment Division recommended in 2007 an investigation as to why air bags in 2003 – 2006 Cobalts and Ions didn’t deploy, stating complaints made to the agency in 2005, along with early warning data gathered from related repairs and injuries, justified such action.

Bloomberg adds the cars linked to the faulty switch were marketed to first-time drivers, whose inexperience behind the wheel may have added to the chain of events leading to the number of crashes and fatalities documented thus far. Though GM stated in 2005 the driver could regain control by shifting to neutral and restarting, auto-safety experts and driving instructors, such as American Drivers Traffic Safety Education Association CEO Allen Robinson, said the scenario presented by the ignition failure would be hard to manage by most drivers:

It’s going to be a real problem and most people are not going to know how to deal with it.These sorts of mechanical failures are so infrequent that you can’t really prepare people for them.

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44 Comments on “GM Adds 824k Vehicles To Recall...”

  • avatar

    This is one of those things I usually think media overblows it, but it is now getting a little ridiculous. I have a 2007 Sky and have never had an issue on my ignition. However, with the 1.4 turbo stop order, the new truck recall, etc. GM is really showing they haven’t improved since the bankruptcy.

    Wow. GM Shares should be on sale soon!

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      With the Congress bought and sold and the corporations and law firms filled with former regulators, if it weren’t for the media “overblowing”, as you say, we would know even less than we do. Do you really want to find out about faulty ignition switches first hand?

      • 0 avatar

        Well at first I thought they were being a little hard on GM, especially since Ford had the cruise control issue everyone seems to forget about on the F-150, but then the recalls kept coming.

        In otherwords, I thought it at first, but now I agree.

        I don’t fear driving my car, and seeing as the only thing that is on the key ring is the keyless entry remote. I am much less at risk than the multitude of people I know that have many keys, cards, etc. on theirs.

    • 0 avatar

      Has anybody done the math on the timing of the government’s final GM share sale relative to this recall? It sounds like this problem was becoming known back when we were all GM shareholders.

      But, I can’t imagine anything so nefarious as this recall problem being kept quiet until the government got its money back…

      • 0 avatar

        You got it in one. When the US Government got out of the Automobile owning business all these recall stories started to appear.

        • 0 avatar

          > You got it in one. When the US Government got out of the Automobile owning business all these recall stories started to appear.

          The big recall stories have been around since the faux outrage over unintended acceleration. The DOJ “case” against TMC (who I assure you is not owned by the gubmint) has been on-going until TMC’s recent settlement. The rather distinct GM key issue seems to have been investigated annually internally until persistent mediocrity finally paid off, and the pressure to recall is probably related to the TMC outcomes.

          It’s also worth pointing out that the 1.4T Cruze recall is also distinct from ~2005 ignition plungers.

          There’s perhaps various causalities here but not how those oblivious to details perceive it for their “theories”.

    • 0 avatar

      > This is one of those things I usually think media overblows it, but it is now getting a little ridiculous.

      These stories are a good example of the sensationalism that builds when each successive layer cherry picks the juiciest bit from the last.

      For example, Bloomberg and AN each already provide their ignorance-based narrative of the story, and derivative mediums instead of provide perspective on what the precious few facts mean only amplify the existing confirmation-bias.

      Doing this effectively to goad an audience toward pre-established narrative was raison d’etre of the site’s founder.

  • avatar

    …… total recalled as of this morning [ 3/31/14 ] …. FIVE .. yes I said Five Million and counting . Remember me saying last weeks numbers were barely the dust – on top of the seagull droppings – on the tip – of the top of the Iceberg ?

    Well … we’ve gotten below the dust … are slowly working our way thru the droppings …. but there’s a whole lotta Iceberg underneath …. just waiting to be uncovered .

    Hold on to it . The rides just barely beginning . Nice of Akerson to leave Bara holding the bag … wasn’t it ?

    • 0 avatar

      …… and … just to add additional insult to an already grievous amount of injury …. hold on to it …. here it comes …..

      All the Cadillac ELR’s [ well … for ‘ all ‘ there are that is in light of GM being unable to give them away ]

      … are being recalled as well .

      More on the way …. just wait a bit … its coming !

      • 0 avatar

        ….. and now an additional 1.3 million recalled … for … errr … steering issues .

        Ahhh .. but the Fat Ladys still not done singing yet I’m afraid oh fans of all things GM … her having at least another aria or two in her before the show comes to a close .. long arias I might add … very long indeed !

        Yup ! GM ! Don’t it put a smile on yer face that we bailed them out ? Aint ya just a hankerin to head down to yer local GM dealership and buy a car or two ?

        No ?

        Thought not

        • 0 avatar

          …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..enough with the periods……..


  • avatar

    GM is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

    How hard is it to make a dependable ignition switch? Let’s hear from the engineers.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      For quite a while, there were different keys for the doors and ignition. When did GM switch to a single key, and any relation?

      • 0 avatar

        I think that happened back during the Bush administration… the George H. W. Bush administration.

        Therefore, I “blame the failed policies of the Bush administration” for these ignition switch failures. *rimshot*

  • avatar

    At what point are they going to admit it and recall every car?

  • avatar

    The engineers (and I presume lawyers) decided it was cheaper to deal with problems on a case by case basis, than an overall recall to fix the problem. Isn’t this the same philosophy Ford had with the Pinto?

  • avatar

    A recall (precall?) of MY2015 trucks? How about just fixing them before they leave the factory?

  • avatar

    While GM is heavily at fault, I’d like to see some of the key chains/rings that were in the cars when these accidents occurred. When I met my wife she was driving a ’94 Cavalier with a giant keychain attached to her car key so I’m glad she didn’t have a Cobalt or any of the other recalled vehicles. She now drives with just a single car key/FOB and the world still continues on.

    As for the Cruze, I’n glad we didn’t buy one. We came close but the 1.4T just wasn’t powerful enough (coupled with the automatic) and the diesel was too expensive. According to this is the second time GM has been the recipient of faulty Cruze driveshafts so I wonder who actually is supplying the substandard parts to them.

    • 0 avatar

      “this is the second time GM has been the recipient of faulty Cruze driveshafts so I wonder who actually is supplying the substandard parts to them”
      They are NOT substandard parts according to GM. GM has VERY STRICT statement of requirements that they hold each and every supplier to; regardless of the quality of the requirement.
      If there is an inferior part on a car it is completely and absolutely the GM engineer’s fault. Please, let’s place responsibility where it belongs: on the feet of GM design release engineers and their EGMs.

      • 0 avatar

        Nonsense. We’re talking about a Cruze turbo and not a Z06 here, it shouldn’t be that hard to specify axles for this car that don’t snap. The parts in question were likely either sub-spec steel or improperly heat treated. Having a strict set of requirements means nothing if you aren’t verifying that you are actually receiving conforming parts. This is apparently another chapter of ISO that GM ignores, along with configuration management.

        • 0 avatar

          Have you worked at GM? Are you familiar with GM’s design release process?
          Are you familiar with GM’s statement of requirements?
          Until you can answer “yes” to all of those questions then don’t call nonsense on what you don’t know of.
          The fact that this is a Cruze and not corvette is irrelevant.

          • 0 avatar

            No, no, and no. And your statement is still nonsense. For the sake of the discussion I am assuming, as you are, that GM engineers issued a perfectly executed statement of requirements, precisely tailored to the required characteristics for the application. I am saying that it doesn’t mean squat if they are not monitoring the quality of the parts they receive to verify that they meet that statement of requirements.

            After 26 years of quality assurance experience I know a little bit about supplier surveillance. I’m not convinced that GM is even aware of the term.

          • 0 avatar

            I would argue the same statement could be directed towards you and your earlier statement.

          • 0 avatar

            I am assuming nothing. I was one of those engineers and I know what those statement of requirement documents are, how they are created and how the statement defines the supplier/GM relationship.
            GM uses those documents as the part’s bible. Every and all requirements of the part from material specs to the detailed drawings to required tests to frequency of production part audit.
            If there is a failure of a part it is because the GM DRE failed to adequately define the part. Period.
            Each supplier creates a part defined exclusively by the bill or materials and the statement of requirements.
            Trying to place blame other than on the footstep of GM is irresponsible.

            final statement on the subject. I am not suggesting these requirements are “perfect”. Rather, they are very imperfect in practice. What I am suggesting is that these requirements are the foundation for the supplier/GM relationship and the ultimate responsibility lies with GM to define the part. GM makes very little, if any, of its own “stuff”. GM is essentially a component assembler of the final automobile. Each and every part in those components is defined, in excruciatingly tedious documents, and if a part is “wrong” it is, again, GM’s fault and only GM’s fault.

          • 0 avatar

            I worked at GM and know more than I care to know about GM.

          • 0 avatar

            > GM uses those documents as the part’s bible. Every and all requirements of the part from material specs to the detailed drawings to required tests to frequency of production part audit.

            Can you use this context to explain the ignition plunger issue? Delphi changed the physical dimensions and this was signed off. Who’s responsible for the lack of correlation between desired and actual key turning resistance?

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      “If there is a failure of a part it is because the GM DRE failed to adequately define the part. Period.”

      This statement is not accurate!! A small share of recalls are due to DRE error, but MOST recalls arise because of supplier failure to meet the requirements established by the DRE, most typically due to supplier process errors.

      It is fair to say that DRE errors can impact long term dependability and result in greater vehicle populations at risk. These sorts of errors are likely to drive release of warranty extensions, not recalls.

      No major auto manufacturer relies on incoming material inspection to assure quality today. Suppliers are expected to establish processes which can not produce discrepant material, or failing that, to assure they can not be shipped from their facility.

  • avatar

    Probably should have changed that part number. Also, around 10% of these cars have had the ignition replaced? That’s horrible reliability and probably should have been enough for a recall on its own.

  • avatar

    A few vehicles ago, I had a 2007 Ion 3. I actually had the ignition shut offo on its own while driving 120 km/h on the highway. Luckily I didn’t panic and it was a manual. I just put it in Neutral, put the key back to the on position, and coasted to the side of the road. I know I probably could have started it while rolling, but I figured better safe than sorry.

    At the time, I thought I hit the switch somehow and didn’t think anything else about it. That was until the recall notice. I was guilty at the time of having a large keychain. I don’t anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve got a 2005 manual ION and I’ve had the engine turn off on me a few times. Since all my driving is in city traffic I’ve just assumed it was something I did while spacing out. But,I can remember a few times where the car has shut down w/out that lurch that I get once every couple of yrs or so reminding me I’m an idiot for forgetting the clutch.

    • 0 avatar

      With a manual all you need to do is switch the ignition back to ON, shift it into a higher or the same gear and release the clutch. The engine will restart. This is called a bump start, and can be done at any normal speed.

  • avatar

    How does this differ from running out of gas?

    For that matter I had a car that occasionally shut down due to an occasional intermittent short (eventually identified) . It never seemed to be a life threatening situation.

    • 0 avatar

      You still have electric power if engine stops from running out of gas because the key stays in the “ignition on” position. You would still have airbag and I assume pretensioner on seatbelt lap belt.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the NHTSA is keying off the fact that the airbags don’t deploy if you get in an accident when this happens. (In retrospect, keeping the airbags going for a few seconds after cutting the ignition would seem to me to be a good idea.)

      That said, “sudden loss of power” is also a criteria under which vehicles are recalled. I can’t remember the last time I drove a car that didn’t beep and light a light when low on gas; you have plenty of warning you are doing something stupid, so it’s not really comparable.

      While every driver should be prepared to know what the car feels like when losing power, the sudden loss of power steering and brake boost can certainly lead to a lot of situations that are quite dangerous, no matter how skilled the driver.

  • avatar

    Tomorrow’s Barra-B-Q on Capitol Hill should be highly entertaining. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle should have ample opportunity to bitch slap her know-nothing ass back to Detroit…

  • avatar

    GM just added another 1.5 million due to electric power steering issues.

  • avatar

    @ SayMyName….So in what multi national corporation’s CEO’s chair does your know all a$$ reside?

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @mikey- he is an ignorant troll. there is a lot of that here from people who have no chance of ever being employed by an automaker or any other major corporation.

  • avatar

    Hmmm…with the death of Evo, maybe I should go for the Chevy SS in a few weeks when customers are spooked.

  • avatar

    “…a fire such as the one experienced earlier this month during a test drive in California earlier this month.”

    What part of the month was it part of the month was it?

    Brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

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