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GM recalls another 3.4m cars on ignition flawBack

Chevrolet1General Motors recalled a further 3.36m vehicles over faulty ignition switches, in the latest recall linked to the work of an engineer who was heavily criticised in a report published recently.

The company said it was recalling seven different models of Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac sedans because their ignition switches could move out of the run position if the vehicles hit bumps, such as rail tracks. This would cut off a vehicle’s engine, power steering, power braking and airbags.

The fault is similar to the one that caused GM earlier this year to recall 2.6m compact cars whose ignition switches some engineers had known since 2001 to be faulty.

The same engineer who approved the ignition switches for the compact cars that were linked to fatalities – Ray DeGiorgio – approved the ignition switches for the latest recalled vehicles, according to GM.

However, GM will need to undertake far less far-reaching work on the latest vehicles than required on the compact cars. Technicians will fit an insert into the vehicle’s key fob to turn the key ring slot into a hole. The change will limit the movement of any heavy objects attached to key rings, easing the pressure that weight can exert on the ignition switch and reducing the risk that the switch could slip inadvertently from the run position.

GM said that Mr DeGiorgio, who has consistently declined to comment, had approved ignition switches for the latest batch of recalled vehicles that fell short of GM’s specifications for the amount of effort required to turn the switch. But they were far closer to specification than those in the compact cars and the system as a whole met specifications, GM said. The risk was consequently far lower than in the compact cars.

GM said it knew of eight crashes and six injuries potentially related to the fault in the latest batch of vehicles. The fault in the compact cars led to at least 13 deaths.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 20/06/2014