By on April 11, 2014


Autoblog reports 2.19 million of the same vehicles under the current General Motors ignition recall are under a new ignition-related recall, as well. The new recall warns of a problem where the key can be removed without the switch moved to the “off” position. According to GM, the automaker is aware of “several hundred” complaints and at least one roll-away accident resulting in injury, and is instructing affected consumers to place their vehicles in park or, in manuals, engage the emergency brake before removing the key from the ignition until repairs are made.

Regarding the original recall, The Detroit News reports has called upon NASA’s Engineering & Safety Center to review whether or not the 2.6 million affected Chevrolets, Pontiacs and Saturns are safe to drive with just the ignition key in position. The agency, which has performed similar reviews in the past, will look over the work performed by the automaker in the latter’s effort to make the affected vehicles safe to drive, as well as review its overall approach to safety concerns.

On the financial front, Automotive News says GM will take a $1.3 billion charge in Q1 2014 for the original recall, 40 percent greater than the $750 million charge originally estimated at the end of last month. The charge — which includes repair costs and loaners for affected owners — comes on the heels of a $400 million charge tied to currency challenges in Venezuela, the total sum of which threatens to knock out most if not all of the automaker’s Q1 2014 earnings set to be announced toward of end of this month.

Meanwhile, The Detroit News reports Michael Carpenter, the CEO of former GM financial arm Ally Financial, says his company will complete its exit from government ownership by Election Day of this year:

The U.S. Treasury is quite happy today. My own view is they will definitely be out before the election and we are close to having Treasury and U.S. government ownership in the rearview mirror.

By the end of trading Thursday, Ally’s IPO netted taxpayers $17.7 billion with a profit of $500 million on the $17.2 billion bailout of the consumer finance company, while the Treasury currently holds 17 percent of its remaining shares after selling 95 million for $25 per share at the opening bell; share price fell 4.4 percent to $23.50 at the closing bell.

In lawsuit news, Automotive News reports GM settled with the families of two Saturn Ion drivers who lost their lives in 2004 when their respective cars’ airbags failed to deploy. The two fatalities were identified by the publication as the earliest of 13 linked to the out-of-spec ignition switch at the root of the current recall crisis. In addition, while one case was settled out-of-court in September of 2007, the second case drew its settlement terms after the automaker filed for bankruptcy in June of 2009, placing the plaintiffs and their lawyer with other unsecured creditors.

The Detroit News reports Cadillac and Buick are at the top of their respective lists for dealer service satisfaction as determined by the J.D. Power & Associates U.S. Customer Service Index Study. Cadillac’s dominance over the luxury brand category comes as former No. 1 Lexus — who held the top spot for five consecutive years — falls to third behind Audi, while Buick leads Volkswagen, GMC, Mini and Chevrolet in the mass-market brand category.

Finally, Autoblog reports the last of eight Corvettes swallowed by the sinkhole that formed inside the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. back in February has been recovered. The 2001 Corvette Mallett Hammer Z06 will need extensive work performed to bring it back to its original state, but not before it joins its brethren in a new exhibit entitled “Great 8” beginning next week. The exhibit will last until the museum’s 20th anniversary in late August, at which point GM will begin restoration work on the eight Corvettes.

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13 Comments on “GM Seeks Aid From NASA, Issues New Ignition-Related Recall...”

  • avatar

    “The new recall warns of a problem where the key can be removed without the switch moved to the “off” position According to GM, the automaker is aware of “several hundred” complaints and at least one roll-away accident resulting in injury, and is instructing affected consumers to place their vehicles in park or, in manuals, engage the emergency brake before removing the key from the ignition until repairs are made.”

    I had a ’66 Impala that did that (the more things change, the more they stay the same?). Anyway, I liked it, you could remove key and keep the emgine running and then go open the trunk, etc.

    Also, I never had the car roll away when doing this and I don’t understand that. If you don’t put the car in Park and/or apply the parking brake, the car is going to roll away regardless.

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound

      Our ’57 Oldsmobile was the same. The key could be removed without the engine shutting down. Bonus, our Olds key would start the neighbor’s ’58 Chevrolet, though his key would not start our car.

      A mechanic said GM used only about a half-dozen unique keyways for all its cars, a boon for knowledgeable car thieves. Regardless, the lock cylinders became so sloppy after a few month’s use a slot tip screwdriver could open and start most any car.

      • 0 avatar

        NSFW if you watch the whole thing from the beginning, but very appropriate since the car is an old Camaro:

      • 0 avatar

        @ Gardiner….Oh the horrors! A way back in 1958 GM had the nerve to produce such an inferior automobile. No air bags either? The UAW must of conspired with Dwight Eisenhower, to let that go by.

    • 0 avatar

      Same deal with my parents’ 1962 Impala – I distinctly remember them taking the keys out of the ignition switch and laying them on the built-in dash tray once underway.

      I sat in the front seat, right in the middle, in one of those baby seats that hung on the seatback and had one foam-covered bar across the front.

      How did any of us survive???

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        I was more daring. I STOOD UP in the front seat. If my mother had to brake hard, she would throw her right arm out to keep me out of the metal dash and windshield.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree but Americans are car dumber and society a lot more litigious compared to the 1950s-60s. It’s also a bit different if you’re used to the key only coming out in the “off” position versus knowing it’ll come out at any time.

    • 0 avatar

      At one time we had Common Sense.

      And common sense said you put the car in Park…or set the parking brake in a stick…before exiting the vehicle.

      I’ve had multiple pre-interlock GMs where you could take the key out of the ignition while running. Never had a problem…although that ability has developed in a couple post-interlock ones I’ve owned…both as they got north of 200K miles.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Maybe GM should just buy its ignition switches from Tesla.

  • avatar

    So now it’s over two million cars with ignition switch miseries? Talk about sinkholes!

    Would someone please take apart a Cobalt switch and, say, a Focus switch and explain how they vary in design?

  • avatar

    All GM cars of the late ’50s to mid-’60s had ignition locks that allowed you to remove the key after putting in auxiliary. You could then start the engine without a key. The owner’s manual in my ’62 Buick LeSabre made it sound like a feature, not a bug.

    Regardless of maker, there are only so many cylinder lock mechanisms. I had a ’65 Impala when I was in the Navy and a shipmate had bought a Ford Cortina. I asked to drive it around the base, he said no, so I put the impala key in the door and it opened. I put the same key in the ignition and it started up. Funny, his key wouldn’t work on the Impala!

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      My Dad had a ’73 F-100 and my mother had a ’71 Lincoln Mark III. He told me to go out and move the truck one time, which was sitting behind the Mark. I grabbed Mother’s keys and unlocked and moved the truck before I realized I had the “wrong” set.

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