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In the first half of 2014, General Motors (GM) recalled more than 20 million vehicles, with approximately one third due to a dangerous ignition switch defect. The nation’s largest automaker announced Monday a 3.6 million-car recall for keys that slip out of the run position into the “accessory” or “off” position.
Unlike the original recall with at least 13 deaths and 54 accidents, only eight accidents and six injuries are reportedly related to the defect.
Due to changing industry standards demanding more fuel-efficient vehicles, GM quickly produced several compact car models (Saturn Ion and Chevy Cobalt) to comply but failed to develop quality vehicles. The rapid release and corporate climate led people to speculate that this was the reason for the defective ignition switches.
The most recently recalled vehicles find a hole in the original theories. The brands included are known for their features and luxury, not for being “cheap” vehicles younger people drive.
- Buick Lacrosse, 2005 to 2009
- Chevrolet Impala, 2006 to 2014
- Cadillac Deville, 2000 to 2005
- Cadillac DTS, 2004 to 2011
- Buick Lucerne, 2006 to 2011
- Buick Regal LS and RS, 2004 and 2005
- Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2006 to 2008
Many continue to blame GM’s cost cutting culture when new information surfaced, detailing the inexpensive cost to fix the faulty ignition switches the company ultimately rejected. The common connection is former GM engineer Ray DeGirogio who helped with the design of both switches.
Additionally, a dysfunctional communication system referred to the defect as a “customer convenience” issue, allowing the problem to persist for more than a decade before finally taking action.
Mary Barra, GM CEO, is set to face Congress again Wednesday, June 18, to answer their questions now that the internal investigation is complete. The report assisted and intensified Barra’s commitment to changing the culture and reestablishing GM’s position as a quality automaker.
Ivory, D. & Vlasic, B. (2014). In another blow, GM recalls 3 million more defective cars. New York Times. [Link]
Lobosco, K. (2014). GM recalls another 3.4 million vehicles. CNN Money. [Link]