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GM adds more cars to ignition recall

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DETROIT, MI -  General Motors SAYS it will replace the ignition switch in all model years of its Chevrolet Cobalt, HHR, Pontiac G5, Solstice and Saturn Ion and Sky in the U.S., noting that faulty switches may have been used to repair the vehicles.

The parts are at the center of the company's recently announced ignition switch recall, which originally extended through the 2007 model year.  About 95,000 faulty switches were sold to dealers and aftermarket wholesalers. Of those, about 90,000 were used to repair older vehicles that were repaired before they were recalled in February.

Because it is not feasible to track down all the parts, the company is recalling 824,000 more vehicles in the U.S. to ensure that every car has a current ignition switch.

The cars are in addition to the 1.6-million cars recalled earlier. 12 deaths have been linked to the defective switch in those cars.

In a news release issued Friday, GM said it is unaware of any reports of fatalities with this group of vehicles where a frontal impact occurred, the front air bags did not deploy and the ignition is in the "accessory" or "off" position.

GM's move came one day after U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, (D-CONN) urged General Motors to issue stronger warnings to customers who bought the recalled vehicles

Blumenthal sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra pointing out that public attention has focused on ignition switch defects in Chevy Cobalts.

But Blumenthal pointed out in the letter that similar problems existed, and continue to present what he calls urgent dangers in other recalled models.

In his letter to Barra, Blumenthal writes, "I urge you to issue a stronger warning to drivers of recalled vehicles of the acknowledged risk they are facing, including a warning not to drive recalled cars. This warning should be issued as soon as possible – in advance of your testimony before the Subcommittee"

On Wednesday, Barra is scheduled to testify before a hearing of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, of which Blumenthal is a member.

Until the recall has been performed, GM recommends that customers remove all items, including the key fob, from their key rings, leaving only the vehicle key.

"We are taking no chances with safety," said Barra.  "Trying to locate several thousand switches in a population of 2.2 million vehicles and distributed to thousands of retailers isn't practical. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling the rest of the model years.

GM records indicate the service parts may have been used for ignition repairs in:

  • 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalts
  • 2008-2011 Chevrolet HHRs
  • 2008-2010 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2008-2010 Pontiac G5 and
  • 2008-2010 Saturn Sky

GM says that owners who may have had a suspect part installed will receive a letter the week of April 21. GM dealers will replace their ignition switch free of charge as parts become available. Customers who paid to have their ignition switches replaced will be eligible for reimbursement.

Dealers, distributors and other parts customers will be told about the recall beginning March 31.

Information on the ignition switch recall is available www.gmignitionupdate.com.

You can find a link to the entire letter from Senator Blumenthal here.

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