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GM Recalls Cars With Ignition Switch Defect

Last week, GM recalled 778,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada due to a problem with the ignition switch that could prevent air bags from deploying in a crash.

However, some are saying the recall is too little, too late with one lawyer claiming the car manufacturer dragged its feet for a decade on a defect that has led to six deaths.

In 2006, GM sent dealers a bulletin, warning that because of the ignition switch problems in six models, a heavy keychain could turn off the ignition.

The models included in the recall include the 2007 Pontiac G5 and the 2005-7 Chevrolet Cobalt. However, the four other models listed in that bulletin are not included in the recent recall.

In a letter dated Feb. 13, GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if the vehicles were jarred or the owner had a heavy key ring, the engine could be turned off, which would disable the air bags.

And while GM is aware that six deaths are linked to the defect, the automaker said some of those crashes also involved other variables including alcohol, high speeds and failure to wear seat belts.

The other models that GM covered in the bulletin, but did not include in the recall, are the 2006-7 Chevrolet HHR, the 2006-7 Pontiac Solstice, the 2003-7 Saturn Ion and the 2007 Saturn Sky.

The Georgia lawyer suing GM represents the family of a woman killed in 2010 while driving a 2005 Cobalt. The lawyer claims a GM engineer experienced problems with the Cobalt as early as 2004, and concluded in 2005 that there was a problem with the ignition switch.

Under current law, automakers are required to report safety defects to the NHTSA within five days of discovering them.

Source: The New York Times, “G.M. Recalls Some Cars, but Not All, With Ignition Switch Problem,” Feb. 20, 2014.

CNN, “GM accused of deadly recall delay,” Feb. 21, 2014.

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