By on July 14, 2015


Jalopnik has an interesting story today about how General Motors negotiated its way into recalling 200,000 Hummers only after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration threatened to launch a formal investigation.

Last week, Hummer recalled nearly 200,000 SUVs due to an increased fire risk because of a faulty HVAC harness that could melt and catch fire.

GM knew about the problem in 2008, Jalopnik writes, and did nothing until issuing a recall this July.

The story details a growing schism between NHTSA and automakers, who’ve been accused of having a cozy relationship before.

Officials at GM presented NHTSA officials with their accounting of the increased fire risk in Hummer H3 and H3T models in January. When federal officials audited the numbers later, they discovered a larger number of incidents than what GM may have reported.

According to Jalopnik, federal safety officials gave GM an ultimatum in June: recall or risk a federal investigation. GM issued a recall notice on July 9.

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26 Comments on “Report: Hummer Recall Only Happened After NHTSA Threatened GM...”

  • avatar

    Sounds about like GM…

    I’m confused on the number of trucks though, the H3 has a total production (between Shreveport, South Africa, and Russia) of just under 250k, so I guess over seas vehicles aren’t in the recall?

    The bigger issue is that GM knew of this since (at least) 08, and didn’t make any changes to future production.

    • 0 avatar

      As in regards to this recall-

      I just read that a dealer told an owner that the recall was meant for those experiencing problems. In other words the blower stopped working.
      I doubt that the fires only occurred after problems had shown themselves. I hope this was just a problem in communication.

  • avatar

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    Whoa! We won’t get fooled again! No! No!

    Oh wait a minute, yes we did…

  • avatar

    GM is the poster child for a bad corporate citizen. They give other american manufacturers a bad name and our automotive industry in particular. Wish they would just ‘go away’ for a long deserved dirt nap.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah because FCA has been so much better. The NHTSA is coming down on them as well. Maybe the american automotive industry has a bad name on these matters for a reason?

      • 0 avatar

        Uh, there’s that airbag issue that’s happening now. Not a domestic manufacturer BTW. And that little issue of sudden acceleration that Toyota swept under the carpet for a decade. Again, not a domestic thing. Every automaker attempts to downplay the severity of their defects. It’s not okay. Just a reality.

        • 0 avatar

          Oh man, now you’ve done it.

        • 0 avatar

          What’s most disconcerting to me is the potential loss of life with the faulty airbags. If it takes another two, three years(?) before the issue is resolved, there will still be vehicles that people didn’t bother fixing, didn’t know, stored in a garage.

          Shouldn’t they be proactive and require cars be fixed or a new registration would be denied? Shouldn’t the airbags be disabled until the parts are available? I mean, which is worse, not having an airbag, or getting killed by one?

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    GM is the Geraldo Rivera of the car manufacturers. Not much there when one looks behind the curtain.

    Their engineering staff is certainly capable.

    Their management staff has the collective IQ of the bottom of an old outhouse.

    • 0 avatar

      If “GM is the Geraldo Rivera of the car manufacturers” then wouldn’t they bait the NHTSA into smashing them on the nose, so they could put on a bandage and look tough?

  • avatar

    For me the big surprise is that GM found 200,000 buyers for Hummers.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t see how, it’s the only brand that’s given Jeep any competition in a very long time, unlike Jeep it (thankfully) never started selling incapable trucks. Also, the H2 outsold the H3.

    • 0 avatar

      > 200,000 buyers for Hummers.

      Some accountants at GM still must wet their pants contemplating that fact.

      Yeah, I can sort of see the appeal of the H1 if you are somewhere West of the Mississippi with wide open country without a lot of trees to squeeze between like the trails I hit here in Western NC and such like. That H2 and H3 are just reskinned Tahoes and Trailblazers with a whole bunch of $$$markup, I guess Mencken was right after all.

      • 0 avatar

        The H2 has nothing in common with the Tahoe, and likewise the H3 has nothing in common with the trailblazer. Of course you can’t see the appeal if you can’t even see what they are and what they’re capable of. From factory they were very capable and for instance, the H3 was availible with more offroad options than competitors. Of course the H2 really had no competition in the fullsize offroad segment which would have given it free reign if the price didn’t start inching too high in its final years.

  • avatar

    “According to Jalopnik, federal safety officials gave GM an ultimatum in June: recall or risk a federal investigation”

    That doesn’t seem to be so unusual. If the company won’t have a “voluntary” recall, then the involuntary one will be more painful.

    The backstory here is that NHTSA is a lot more aggressive now than it was during previous administrations. You guys should really be writing about this, as the automotive media seems to be completely oblivious to how things have changed and why.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    I like how GM came to the American public, hat in one hand, begging for a cash bailout from their ineptitude.

    In the other hand, they were busy trying to kill us and cover it up.

  • avatar

    Recall all of them.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    How do you threaten something that no longer exists?

  • avatar

    An astute observer might point this out as a reason why govn’t oversight/regulation is necessary.

    Good thing I’m not astute.

    (Bonus points if you recognize which urban fantasy book series I plagiariz–*ahem*–adapted this quote from.)

  • avatar

    You know what, there needs to be some new legislation here, a formula perhaps.

    If X Automaker goes Y years with knowledge of a needed recall, and does not inform the NHTSA that Z vehicles should be recalled, then X pays a large, LARGE fine which is (X) x (multiplier) x (Y) x (number of Z recalled).

    The fine needs to be punitive, so they quit doing this sh!t. It’s not acceptable.

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