GM has recalled 778,000 vehicles this month due to an ignition switch defect. The affected models are the 2005 to 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5. A lawsuit stemming from a 2010 accident that killed a woman in Georgia has brought about new information on the defect, which GM allegedly first identified in 2004.
The defect can cause the car’s ignition to switch out of the “on” position causing the engine to cease. This can result in the loss of braking assistance, steering, and airbag deployment. The defect has been linked to 17 injuries and 6 deaths, including the death of two teenage girls in Wisconsin in 2006, in which investigators found that the ignition switch was found in the accessory position and the airbags never deployed.
In a response to CBS News on why the recall wasn’t issued a decade ago, the GM said: “The incident rate was very low with no growing trend.”
The Recalled GM Models
The Cobalt is a compact sedan that was produced for the 2004-2010 model years. There are still more than a half million Cobalts on the roads. While the Cobalt and G5 were the only models recalled to date, the ignition switch defect could affect other models.
GM has not ruled out a wider recall and is in talks with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). By law, automakers who fail to report vehicle safety concerns to the NHTSA within five business days are subject to a $35 million fine.
GM models that have not been recalled but were identified in a GM service bulletin to dealers related to defect are the 2006 and 2007 Pontiac Solstice and Chevrolet HHR, the 2007 Saturn Sky, and the 2003 to 2007 Saturn ION. In total, an additional 650,000 cars on the roads may be affected by this potentially fatal product defect.