- General Motors is expanding the recall of some 2003-'07 vehicles for an ignition switch defect that could cause airbags not to deploy in crashes, bringing the number to nearly 1.4 million in the U.S.
- The automaker is adding the 2003-'07 Saturn Ion, 2006-'07 Chevrolet HHR and 2006-'07 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky to the recall.
- GM said on Tuesday that it is now aware of the deaths of 13 front-seat occupants linked to the recall.
DETROIT — General Motors is expanding the recall of some 2003-'07 vehicles for an ignition switch defect that could cause airbags not to deploy in crashes, bringing the number to nearly 1.4 million in the U.S.
GM had previously recalled 619,122 vehicles in the U.S., including the 2005-'07 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5 to fix the problem. GM said on Tuesday that it is now aware of the deaths of 13 front-seat occupants linked to the recall.
"The expanded vehicle population raises the number of reported incidents involving frontal crashes with the ignition switch in the 'accessory' or ‘off' position, and frontal airbag non-deployment, to 31, involving 13 front-seat fatalities," the automaker said in a statement.
The vehicles are being recalled because the faulty ignition switches could inadvertently turn off the engine and most of the electrical components on the vehicle, as well as disabling the airbags. The problem occurs if the ignition key is jarred or a heavy key ring causes the ignition switch to be moved out of the "run" position. The problem also may occur if the vehicle goes off road or experiences some other jarring event, according to GM.
The automaker also took the unusual step of apologizing to consumers for the defect.
"We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can," said GM North America President Alan Batey in a statement.
GM and its dealers will work with customers on an "individual, case-by-case basis to minimize inconvenience associated with the recall," the automaker said.
Dealers will replace the ignition switch. In the meantime, customers should only use the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring. GM has not set a date for the recall.
Owners can contact Chevrolet at 1-800-222-1020 or Pontiac at 1-800-762-2737.
Edmunds says: At this point, it is very important that customers remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the vehicle key. As always, if you are experiencing a problem with one of the affected cars, get it into your dealership immediately.