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GM's global recall grows

Caught up: The Chevrolet Malibu from 2004 is one of a number of GM vehicles involved in the latest round of recalls.

Ignition switch, other faults prompt American recall of 8.5 million GM vehicles

2 Jul 2014

GENERAL Motors has confirmed it will recall 8.5 million vehicles in North America over a series of faults, with almost eight million relating to the ignition switch safety fault that has engulfed the United States automotive giant in recent months.

The Detroit-based car-maker announced six separate recalls for vehicles dating back to 1997, with 7.6 million vehicles called back in the United States alone, while a further 890,000 vehicles in Mexico require a fix.

In announcing this latest round of recalls, GM confirmed that it is aware of seven crashes, eight injuries and three fatalities in older-model large sedans that are being recalled for “inadvertent ignition key rotation”.

A statement from the company said there was "no conclusive evidence that the defect condition caused those crashes”.

Some of the older models involved in the ignition switch recall include the 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero, 2000-05 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am and 2004-08 Pontiac Grand Prix.

Newer vehicles under the GM banner to be affected by the ignition issue include two models from the company's luxury brand Cadillac – the 2003-14 CTS and 2004-06 SRX crossover.

US automotive industry publication Autonews reports that the issue in these models is different to the faulty ignition switch in the recall of 2.6 million small cars built in the mid 2000s.

A GM spokesperson confirmed with the publication that the latest issue “is one of weight on the key. It's not the system's performance”.

He added that the torque in the switches “may be slightly out of spec, but the performance of the system as a whole meets the requirement”.

The issue in the smaller cars relates to the switches having insufficient torque and being prone to shutting off the power steering, airbags and power brakes. The car-maker has linked 54 crashes and 13 deaths to this particular fault.

The latest round of recalls involves several other smaller issues in North America not relating to the ignition switch, with about 20,000 current-generation Cruze, Trax and Sonic cars called in for an issue relating to the insulation on a heater power cord that could be damaged in cold conditions.

This issue does not affect Australian-spec Cruze and Trax.

More than 188,000 SUVs including the 2005-07 Chevrolet Trailblazer, Buick Rainier, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7X are being recalled for a possible electrical short that could disable the power door lock and window switches and potentially overheat the module.

GM CEO Mary Barra said the company's recent review that saw 15 employees dismissed as a direct result of their involvement in the ignition switch problem was evidence of its renewed focus on safety systems and transparency.

“We undertook what I believe is the most comprehensive safety review in the history of our company because nothing is more important than the safety of our customers,” she said.

“Our customers deserve more than we delivered in these vehicles. That has hardened my resolve to set a new industry standard for vehicle safety, quality and excellence.

“We have worked aggressively to identify and address the major outstanding issues that could impact the safety of our customers.

"If any other issues come to our attention, we will act appropriately and without hesitation.”

GM said in a statement that it expects to take a $US1.2 billion ($A1.26b) hit in the second quarter of this year as a result of the recall repairs, which includes the $700 million already confirmed for the recalls that were previously announced.

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