GM offering $25 gift cards to owners of recalled autos

Just 1.3 million of 2.4 million recalled GM cars built with faulty ignition switches have been repaired

General Motors is offering $25 gift cards to owners of recalled vehicles to encourage them to visit their dealers and get defective parts repaired or replaced.

The company last week began sending notices to "several hundred thousand" vehicle owners, a company officer said.

The letters offer a $25 gift card to Starbucks, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Applebee's, Red Robin, AMC Theatres or Bass Pro Shops.

The letters are going to people who have received recall notices but have not had their vehicles inspected, said Ryndee Carney, GM's manager of cross brand communicatons.

"There are several hundred thousand people who have taken no action whatsoever," Carney said. "They haven't seen their dealers, even though they have been contacted by us repeatedly."

The auto giant is under fire, and facing several federal investigations and at least one class-action lawsuit, over a decade-long problem involving fautly ignition switches. Vehicles equipped with the defective switches can suddenly turn off, disabling power steering, power brakes, air bags and other systems.

About 2.4 million vehicles still in operation with potentially hazardous switches have been recalled, according to GM. More than 1.3 million of them have had their ignition switches replaced, the company said.

The switches have been implicated in hundreds of accidents and as many as 30 deaths.

Vehicle owners can qualify for the gift cards by having their vehicles repaired by Dec. 1, then contacting GM with a corresponding code. The auto company will deliver the gift cards by U.S. mail, Carney said, within two to four weeks.

"We're trying to motivate owners of vehicles that were recalled," Carney said. "We're concerned about their safety."

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