Today General Motors (GM) announced the recall of more than 500,000 Chevrolet Camaros for a defect that sounds all too familiar. The auto giant says the ignition switch in the 2010-2014 year model Camaro can be moved out of the “run” position when the key fob is jostled by the drivers’ knee, causing the car to lose power, including power brakes and steering. GM says the defect is linked to three crashes. A GM spokesman confirmed the airbags did not deploy in the affected vehicles, but says the company is still investigating if the ignition switch defect caused the non-deployment. GM is currently on the hot seat with Congressional investigators following its mishandling of a massive recall of nearly 3 million vehicles for an ignition switch defect linked to more than 13 deaths.
“GM has told the public that it has solved the safety problems with its ignition switches and that the problem was confined to the 2.6 million cars recalled. But today GM has recalled about 530,000 Camaros with a defective ignition switch that was causing the same problems as were present in the Cobalts and other GM vehicles in the earlier recalls,” said Beasley Allen Founding Shareholder Jere L. Beasley. “The report that came from GM’s internal investigation describes a company that had incompetent persons designing cars over a full decade. The report found ‘a pervading atmosphere of incompetence and neglect’ that led GM to allow safety problems to ‘fester for 11 years’ before any attempts were made to correct them. I now have to wonder how many other cars are on our roadways with defective and dangerous parts that create hazards for persons traveling on our highways. It is high time for GM to come clean with Congress, NTHSA and the public. My question to GM is, ‘What’s next?’”
GM recalled about 780,000 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles on Feb. 13. Twelve days later, it expanded the recall to include an additional 590,000 model-year 2003-07 Saturn Ion, Chevy HHR, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky vehicles. The total number of recalled vehicles now numbers about 2.6 million related to an ignition switch defect that allows the key to unintentionally slip from the “run” to “off” or “accessory” position while the vehicle is being operated. The ignition defect causes the sudden loss of engine power, braking and steering, creating a hazardous emergency situation. The airbag system is also disabled and rendered useless.
Court documents and other evidence reveal that GM knew about the ignition switch problem as early as 2001. However, GM rejected several design changes and solutions that were recommended by its own engineers on numerous occasions because of the cost and the time it would take to make the changes.