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Now GM recalls 1.3 million cars

Fix it: GM has recalled more than 900,000 Chevrolet Cobalts in a recall of 1.3 million cars in North America after reports of power steering failures.

Power steering failures force recall of compact Chevs, Pontiacs in North America

3 Mar 2010

GENERAL Motors is the latest US car-maker to get caught up in safety issues, recalling 1.3 million cars in North America to address power-steering failures that have caused 14 crashes with one injury.

While the recall is dwarfed by Toyota’s global 8.5 million-vehicle recall to fix unintended acceleration and braking problems, GM could do without the negative publicity as it battles its economic woes and watches Ford steal its number-one sales status in the US.

The issue is further compounded by the fact that even though GM has ordered the recall, it does yet not have a fix, saying it will notify owners when it has one.

The good news is that the recall thus far has been limited to North America, ensnaring the compact 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007-10 Pontiac G5 in the US, Pontiac Pursuit in Canada and Pontiac G4 in Mexico.

GM could, no doubt, feel the hot breath of US safety regulators on the back of its neck after the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into the compact cars in January after receiving 1100 owner complaints of power steering failure.

GM said it had already been investigating the issue, and had now advised NHTSA that a recall had been ordered.

Most of the recalled vehicles are Chev Cobalts, with more than 900,000 being ordered back to the dealer.

GM Vice President of Quality Jamie Hresko said the problem tended to develop in older cars.

"While greater steering effort under 15mph (25km/h) may be required, if the customer experiences loss of power steering assist, it is important to note that the vehicle can still be safely controlled because the customer can still steer the vehicle,” Mr Hresko said.

“When the condition occurs, both a chime will sound and a ‘Power Steering’ message will be displayed.”

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