By on April 9, 2014


Automotive News reports the repairs of some 2.6 million vehicles affected by the 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall will be delayed by one week as the needed part slowly enters into the automaker’s dealership network. Though most dealers thought they would be receiving the part Monday, GM spokesman Kevin Kelly insisted the part was set to arrive sometime during “the week of April 7”:

We plan to send letters this week informing affected customers that parts are arriving at dealerships and to schedule a service appointment with their dealer. Repairs are likely to begin to follow soon after the customer letter mailing.

Until then, dealerships may face service backlogs, especially with affected vehicles already on the lot that cannot be sold until they are repaired, which can only happen once customer vehicles go through the 30-minute swap. On the other hand, while dealers have noticed some frustration from their customers, the majority of their base was found to be patient with the status of the repair plan.

Over in Washington, D.C., The Detroit Press reports Senator Barbara Boxer of California sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra asking her to back a bill that would keep recalled rental cars under recall off of the road. The bill would require affected rentals to be grounded within 24 to 48 hours upon receipt of a safety recall notice, as well as establish a temporary protocol evaluating safety risk if parts are not available right away, and allow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the oversight to investigate rental company safety practices for the first time.

Though the bill — named after two sisters who lost their lives in 2004 when their rental car caught fire and crashed into a truck — has seen support by rental companies, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — where GM is a member — has stymied the legislation out of a fear that automakers would be forced to fix rental fleets first before individual-owned vehicles, as well as potential lawsuits from the rental companies over lost revenues.

Detroit Free Press reports the NHTSA is calling upon engineers to be the agency’s eyes and ears in the battle against defects like the one linked to the current recall crisis. Lead attorney Kevin Vincent laid his case out before attendees of this year’s SAE World Congress:

Each manufacturer is actually responsible for identifying defects… and promptly reporting those defects to NHTSA. The message I have delivered to senior lawyers at the automakers is that they need to have practices and procedures in place so that when they find a problem, they will respond.

The first line of defense against safety defects is not my agency — not NHTSA. You are truly the first line of defense… to prevent safety defects from reaching the American public.

The safety agency has been taken to task as of late regarding the GM recall as well as those related to Jeep, and has been asked by the Center for Auto Safety to investigate an airbag deployment issue with 2003 through 2010 Chevrolet Impalas.

Automotive News says the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and its GMC Terrain twin both received a top safety pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in surviving the group’s new small-overlap crash test designed for midsize SUVs. The results were linked to improvements in the front structure and door-hinge pillars.

Finally, The Detroit News reports GM will pay a dividend of 30 cents per share for Q2 2014 on June 26 to all shareholders of record as of June 10. The dividend is the second consecutive payment made by the automaker to shareholders — the first, worth 30 cents/share for Q1 2014 earnings, was paid last month — and will cost $1.8 billion annually.

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12 Comments on “GM Dealers Deal With Part Backlog, CEO Asked To Back Rental Car Bill...”

  • avatar

    Engineers vs Bean-Counters is how the NHSTA is framing this? Lutz must be laughing hard about this one and planning the sequel to his last book.

  • avatar

    “which can only happen once customer vehicles go through the 30-minute swap”

    Ok we started with 1.62 million cars recalled for the Delta platform ignition switch problem and added 971,000 cars “worldwide” including Kappa platform (Solstice/Sky/Opel GT/Daewoo G2X). Let’s stick with 1.62 million since they are all North American based sales. Since each procedure takes 30 minutes apiece and GM’s total number of North American dealerships is in limbo due to arbitration, lets just assume 4,600 are still operational.

    1,620,000 * 30 min = 48,600,000 minutes to fix them all / 4,600 dealers = 10,565 minutes per dealer / 60 minutes = 176 hours per dealer / 8 hours per day = 22.01 days per dealer at full capacity (assuming 8 working hours at the service center). Since we know dealerships will not service these cars at their full capacity, assuming 4hrs dedicated per day doubles us to 44.02 days per dealer. For one recall, on one platform.

    If GM had had their way in the bailout and reduced its dealers to 3600,
    13500 mpd /60min = 225 hpd / 8 = 28.13 dpd at full capacity.

    Somebody check my figures, I’m not a math wiz.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    As much as I loathe, despise, and f*rt in the general direction of GM, I do remember a conversation with a retireed GM mech engineer for Cadillac. He related how – each year – GM (mis)management would ask the engineering staff to skim just a little more quality from the car. And, because the engineerin IQ is much much higher than the sum of “management” they’d manage to pull it off without customer complaints. At least, they did for a while. However, as we all know know, the laws of physics soon triumphed and folks realized what a POS they were buying.

    GM, shove it. You’re gone.

    Leave manufacturing to grownups.

    Go to the grave with your liberal idiot buds.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe this but I suspect a similar situation has played out with the other domestics and some of the transplants. GM doesn’t have a monopoly on bad management and beancounters.

      • 0 avatar

        @ 28-Cars-Later and Da Coyote – You guys are kidding right? Could you even begin to argue that the worst quality car today is not better than the best quality car of 20 years ago?

        And I know quality is hard to define, but come on?

        • 0 avatar

          “worst quality car today is not better than the best quality car of 20 years ago”

          Lex LS400 vs Mitsubishi/Suzuki/Smart anything… and the Lexus will win every time. I do see your point though, the overall average of quality has risen somewhat.

          • 0 avatar

            I don’t have the numbers to back it up, but I still think any car today would beat a 1994 vintage LS400. As great as that car was for its time, the whole industry has moved forward. But I could be wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      Like everyone else, engineers resist change, particularly when someone asks them to revisit a project and redo it with an eye to reducing cost. Outright hostility is the first response – are you questioning my design ability? Etc, etc.

      I’ve supervised enough engineers to know, and am one myself. The hardest thing to convince these guys of is that there is more than one way to skin a cat, particularly as like most people they are thoroughly uninterested in their job in the first place. This leads to having little imagination in reinvention and hurt feelings that their original work was not appreciated as the work of genius it was in the first place.

      Hence the constant blathering from engineers about beancounters when what is needed is a more flexible outlook and a bit more interest in improving things and reducing costs. These are not mutually exclusive propositions except in a very few cases. Hurt egos is the main reason we get all this grumbling. No more, no less.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        My experience among electrical engineers is that they enjoy the opportunity to revisit a project. What they object to is work that involves a small change like component substitutions combined with an aggressive schedule for testing the change and a ton of documentation changes. Do the job right and management complains that the cost savings are greatly reduced by the engineering costs. Cut corners on testing the change and new unexpected problems can be introduced.

  • avatar

    And in other news involving recalls Toyota announces yet another massive recall of over 6 million vehicles involving fires, defective starters, seats and steering columns but you won’t see anything about this here in the headlines. Funny that!…#ixzz2yNqnwZzf

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