By on August 1, 2014


Several years prior to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall, car rental companies did their best to get the automaker’s attention regarding a series of accidents and fatalities linked to the latter’s low-cost fleet offerings.

Bloomberg reports that as early as 2005, companies such as Enterprise, Alamo and Hertz all reported accidents to GM involving the Chevrolet Cobalt. Each report noted the failed deployment of the vehicle’s airbags, such as the September 2006 fatal accident involving an Alamo unit, as well as braking and steering issues that led up to the accidents.

Though the companies did their best to get the automaker to do something, GM believed there wasn’t “sufficient information” to link the problems experienced to the accidents reported, as explained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in one of their meetings between 2005 and 2013. The reports are now part of a growing collection of evidence of both parties’ inability to act quickly prior to the February 2014 recall.

In the present, GM has modified its safety-monitoring system to handle questions and concerns from the car rental industry over potential flaws, as well as backing a U.S. Senate bill that would prohibit affected vehicles from being rented or sold without having first been repaired.

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9 Comments on “GM Warned Of Rental-Car Crashes As Early As 2005...”

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Sigh, and still no recall for the GTO ignitions.

  • avatar

    Did they really “do their best” to get GM to fix the problem? They kept ordering Cobalts, etc., didn’t they? If you were hurt or killed in a GM rental vehicle due to the ignition problem, I think you have another target for punitive damages, and that is the rental car company who knew there was a problem, knew or should have known that GM didn’t fix it, and kept stocking and renting the cars anyway. A tougher but not completely impossible case to make would involve those who bought the affected cars used from the rental agencies.

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting point in that none of the rental car companies are “captive arms” of the car makers anymore. Conceivably they could buy Corollas instead of Cobalts or Focus instead of Cobalts, etc.

  • avatar

    the rentals knew that there was a problem but kept buying because the price from gm was so good. seems like both parties will end up having to pay for their sins.

  • avatar

    Has anyone had their mind changed concerning GM by the revelations about their concern for the well being of their customers? It seems like most people already thought GM was a bad company and the remaining GM supporters have a Hamas-like openness to new ideas.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t understand how anyone can look at what has happened to GM from the 1970s to the present day and not come to the conclusion that they are a fundamentally bad company. They’ve been sliding into oblivion for a long time.

      Mullaly excepted for the present, Ford and Chrysler aren’t any better.

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