News Column

GM Recalls Another 3.1 Million Vehicles

June 17, 2014

By James R. Healey, USA TODAY

General Motors' CEO Mary Barra ordered the recall of another 3.1 vehicles for ignition switch issues.
General Motors' CEO Mary Barra ordered the recall of another 3.1 vehicles for ignition switch issues.

General Motors recalled some 3.16 million midsize and large car models in the USA on Monday for a defect similar to the deadly ignition switch flaw that led to a recall of 2.19 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars in the USA this year.

This latest recall comes as CEO Mary Barra is to testify before a House subcommittee Wednesday about the initial switch defect.

One of the models recalled Monday remains in production, the previous generation Chevrolet Impala, sold to rental fleets as the Impala Limited.

The switches in these larger cars were approved by the same now-fired GM engineer at the center of the recall in February and March. GM said the latest switch problem is linked to eight crashes and six injuries. The earlier trouble was linked to 54 crashes and 13 deaths.

GM has recalled 7.54 million vehicles in the USA for ignition switch problems, 5.35 million of them directly linked to the fired engineer, Ray DeGiorgio. He approved the switch design even though he knew it didn't meet GM specifications, according to a report by former U.S. attorney Anton Valukas, hired by GM to uncover how the earlier switches went so long without being fixed.

GM spokesman Alan Adler confirmed that DeGiorgio was the engineer in charge of the switches in Monday's recall. He was one of 15 employees that Barra fired after Valukas' report.

As in the earlier recall, the switches can move out of the "run" position if jarred, shutting off the engine and disabling power steering, brake assist and, most important, the airbags.

GM says the switches work properly if nothing is attached to the ignition key when in use. In the Cobalt recall, GM is replacing the entire switch. In Monday's recall, the car company says it can make the cars safe by inserting a plug in the key that leaves only a small hole to attach a key chain.

"This latest recall raises even more questions about just how pervasive safety problems are at GM," Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said Monday. "Has the company identified all potential problems? And has GM taken all necessary actions to fix the issues? We look to get answers directly from (Barra and Valukas) on Wednesday."

GM said it will take a $700 million charge against second-quarter earnings for the recalls.

Original headline: General motors bruised again

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