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GM recalls 7.6 million more cars, most for ignition switch issue

GM recalls 7.6 million more cars, setting a recall record
GM review spawning more ignition switch recalls
Auto industry has recalled a record 40 million vehicles so far this year

General Motors said Monday that it will recall an additional 7.6 million vehicles in the U.S. for ignition problems and other safety defects.

This latest round of recalls includes 6.8 million older cars, because the ignition switch in these vehicles can turn unexpectedly, shutting off critical car functions.

The models include the 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero, 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am, 2000-05 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, and 2004-08 Pontiac Grand Prix.

These latest recalls also include 554,000 Cadillac CTS sedans from the 2003 through 2014 model years and the 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX. They have a similar problem.

GM launched a complete review of its recall process earlier this year after delaying for as long as a decade calling back 2.2 million small cars in the U.S. because of an ignition switch problem linked to at least 13 deaths and 50 crashes.

GM faces ongoing investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Justice Department and Congress into why it delayed recalling the defective vehicles.

Among the vehicles recalled Monday, GM said it is aware of seven crashes, eight injuries and three fatalities. The fatal crashes occurred in older-model full-sized sedans being recalled for the inadvertent ignition key rotation. But the automaker said it did not have conclusive evidence that the defect condition caused those crashes.

“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,” said Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive. “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.”

The company is also setting a new record for recalls.

It has recalled about 26 million vehicles in just the first half of this year. That is more than the entire industry has recalled annually in each of the last nine years. With the GM call-backs, the auto industry has recalled about 40 million vehicles so far this year, surpassing its record of 30.8 million set in 2004.

“We have worked aggressively to identify and address the major outstanding issues that could impact the safety of our customers,” Barra said. “If any other issues come to our attention, we will act appropriately and without hesitation.”

GM is telling owners of the vehicles to remove all items from their key ring and leave only the vehicle key to operate the cars.

So far the tidal wave of recalls hasn't hurt GM sales, said Karl Brauer, an analyst for auto information company Kelley Blue Book. 

"But we’re hitting unprecedented numbers, and it’s reasonable for people to start asking, “When and where will it end?” he said.

The automaker also on Monday recalled 182,000 2005-07 Buick Rainiers, Chevrolet TrailBlazers, GMC Envoys, Isuzu Ascenders, Saab 9-7x models; 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXTs and GMC Envoy XLs because a possible electrical short in the driver’s door module could disable the power door lock and window switches and, in rare cases, overheat the module. That presents a fire risk.

Additionally, it announced a series of small recalls for certain Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks and Chevrolet and Buick passenger cars and crossovers for a variety of problems.

GM expects to take a charge of up to $1.2 billion in the second quarter for the cost of recall-related repairs announced in the quarter.

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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