Some recalled GM cars with switch problem sold overseas – USA TODAY
General Motors’ ignition switch recall now includes three continents, with small numbers of the cars having been sold in in Europe, Japan and South Korea.
The recalls were just announced Friday in those countries, but they are not newly discovered at-risk models.
The cars were included in the total number of vehicles, but not identified by model, in GM’s Feb. 25 expansion of the original recall. The overseas models are U.S.-built exports nearly identical to the recalled North American models.
The total vehicles recalled for ignition switches that can slip out of “run,” shutting off the engine and disabling the air bags, is 1.62 million worldwide. GM knows of 13 deaths in 31 front-impact crashes in which front air bags failed to deploy.
The new badges and locations identified Friday triggered incorrect speculation that GM was expanding the recall a second time.
Though only a handful — 2,591 — the exports show again, as many recent recalls have demonstrated, how the modern practice of widely sharing platforms and components to cut costs also can domino any problems across borders and oceans.
Newly identified overseas models and their numbers:
- 2007 Opel GT (a rebadged Saturn Sky sold in Europe): 2,361
- 2007 Daewoo G2x (a rebadged Saturn Sky sold in South Korea): 60
- 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet HHR (a modified version sold in Japan: 170
GM spokesman Alan Adler says the cars will be fixed in those countries with new ignition switches. A schedule was not given.
The bulk of the vehicles, 1.37 million, are in the U.S. GM says 250,928 are in Canada and Mexico.
Registered owners of the recalled vehicles in this country will get official notification beginning the week of March 10 that their vehicles have been recalled because airbags might fail due to faulty ignition switches.
The letter also will repeat GM’s urgent request that drivers use only the ignition key, removing it from any key chain or attachment. A heavy key chain can pull the switch out of “run.”
GM will make sure dealer parts bins are cleared to prevent any old switches being used, and believes that by early April, dealers will begin receiving the new ignition switches from supplier Delphi, which also made the original faulty switches. GM insists that it is closely monitoring the production of the replacements.
When enough new switches are on hand, owners will get a second letter from GM telling them when they can make appointments with dealers for the replacement of their ignition switches.
Owners who do not respond will get reminders about every three months for at least 18 months.
Because the cars are older and might have had multiple owners, GM will use a combination of its own records for these vehicle identification numbers (VIN), third-party lists of state motor vehicle data on the latest registered owners, and social media outreach. GM offers a site where owners can check by their car’s VIN to see whether it is in the recall group.
The vehicles being recalled in the U.S. are Chevrolet Cobalts from the 2005-07 model years; 2003-07 Saturn Ions, 2006-07 Chevrolet HHRs and Pontiac Solstices; and 2007 Saturn Sky and Pontiac G5 models.