General Motors has announced six new safety recalls (including its single largest this year) involving a total of about 7.55 million vehicles in the U.S.
The company also announced that it would increase its second-quarter charges to pay for recalls to $1.2 billion, up from the previous announced $700 million.
With the latest recalls, GM now has called back 25.68 million vehicles in the U.S. this year for safety-related repairs — a record for GM and equal to more than two years of the company’s total output. It’s also close to the annual average total recalls for all automakers in recent years, though well short of the industry’s one-year recall record of 58.43 million vehicles in 1999.
The cavalcade has come as GM set about cleaning house on pending safety issue after the recalls for a deadly switch defect in February and March. GM is under a federal regulatory microscope because of those recalls, which are linked to 13 deaths.
“They are expanding (the recalls) now that there is more scrutiny” from safety authorities and Congress, said Sean Kane of Safety Research & Strategies. “Even after the recall barrage, however, there are many, many GM vehicles made over the years that have somehow dodged all the recalls.
Most of the vehicles in the latest announcement, more than 6.8 million in the U.S., are covered by a single new recall that extends the small-car ignition switch issue (“unintended ignition key rotation” that can shut off the engine while underway) to more midsize and full-size GM cars.
GM spokesman Alan Adler said although the latest recall’s ignition switches met GM’s specifications, there are fears that if they are bumped or jarred, they can pop into ‘accessory,’ disabling the car’s airbags.
The company says it has identified seven crashes involving eight injuries and three fatalities that could be tied to the latest ignition-switch recall, although it adds there is “no conclusive evidence” of a link.
In the small cars, GM has been replacing ignition switches. In the latest batch, the fix will likely be a replacement key with a hole rather than a slot. Adler says owners of the vehicles are urged to drive only with a single key and nothing attached until they get the fix.
Models included in Monday’s switch recall include the 1997 to 2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1998 to 2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 1999 to 2004 Oldsmobile Alero; 1999 to 2005 Pontiac Grand Am; 2000 to 2005 Pontiac Grand Am; 2000 to 2005 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo and 2004 to 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix. A separate U.S. recall covers 554,328 vehicles: the 2003 to 2014 Cadillac CTS and 2004 to 2006 Cadillac SRX.
Trading in GM stock was halted at 2:30 p.m. ET and resumed by 3 pm, once the GM recall news and new charges were announced. The stock closed at $36.30, down 32 cents, or 0.87%, on the day.
Also on Monday, details of a compensation fund for victims of the small-car switch recalls were disclosed by fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg. He said GM has agreed to pay, without individual case or total fund limit, anyone Feinberg believes is entitled to compensation for death or injury. Feinberg noted that claims can be filed not only by people riding in any seat in the GM cars with the bad switches, but by pedestrians and people in other cars involved in wrecks with those GM cars.
Besides switch-related recalls, GM also announced recalls of:
• 181,984 SUVs to fix a glitch that could lead to electrical shorts in driver’s doors that could disable power door locks and window switches. Included are 2005 to 2007 Buick Rainier, Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender, Saab 9-7x, 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL.
• 9,271 heavy-duty pickup trucks to fix a fuse issue that could lead to electrical overload, and possible fires. Being recalled is the 2007 to 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Sierra HD when equipped with an auxiliary battery.
• 2,990 smaller vehicles for insulation on engine blocks that can be damaged in cold weather. Included are the 2011 to 2014 Chevrolet Cruze, 2012 to 2014 Chevrolet Sonic, 2013 to 2014 Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore and Verano.
• 106 cars for a joint fastener that may not have been tightened properly. Included are 2014 Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS.