General Motors recalled about 530,000 cars in the U.S. on Friday, including the last four years of Chevrolet Camaros, new Buick LaCrosse sedans as well as older Chevrolet Sonics and Saab convertibles.
This latest round brings GM's total for the year to 38 separate recalls in the U.S. involving 14.4 million vehicles, a record for the automaker. Including this latest round, the auto industry has recalled about 25 million vehicles this year, about one out of every 10 vehicles on the road in the U.S.
"Discovering and acting on this issue quickly is an example of the new norm for product safety at GM," said Jeff Boyer, vice president of GM Global Safety.
The Camaro recall covers 464,712 Camaros from the 2010-14 model years in the U.S. GM said a driver's knee can bump the key fob and cause the key to unexpectedly shift from the "run" position, shutting off the important car functions such as power steering, air bags and the power brake assist.
The issue, which may primarily affect drivers sitting close to the steering column, was discovered by GM during internal testing following its recall of 2.6 million older small cars earlier this year for a faulty ignition switch linked to more than 50 crashes and at least 13 deaths.
But GM said the Camaro problem is unrelated to the ignition system used in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars included in the ignition-switch recall. Unlike the ignition in the older cars, the Camaro system meets all GM engineering specifications, the automaker said.
GM said it knows of three crashes "that resulted in four minor injuries" that it believes may be linked to the Camaro key fob.
The automaker will fix the problem by changing the Camaro key to a standard design from one in which the key is concealed in the fob and is opened by pushing a button.
GM also recalled 28,789 Saab 9-3 convertibles from the 2004-11 model years because an automatic tensioning system cable in the driver's side front seat belt retractor could break. GM said it learned of the problem from customer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM said it is unaware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities related to the problem. GM no longer owns Saab.
Dealers will replace the driver's side retractor in the recalled vehicles. GM also will cover the same repair if needed for the passenger seat belt during the life of the vehicle.
The Chevrolet Sonic recall involves 21,567 cars from the 2012 model year equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The cars can have a condition where the transmission turbine shaft fractures "as a result of a supplier quality issue," GM said. Dealers will replace the transmission turbine shaft. GM is unaware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities related to this condition.
GM said 14,765 model year 2014 Buick LaCrosse sedans will have to be repaired because a wiring splice in the driver's door may corrode and break, creating an electrical problem with circuits that control the door chime, passenger windows, rear windows and the sunroof. Dealers will inspect the driver door window motor harness and, if necessary, replace an electrical splice.
The wave of GM recalls has come after the automaker revamped its recall process following the disclosure that it waited a decade to recall the older cars with the deadly ignition-switch defect.
An internal probe into the delayed recall released by the automaker earlier this year found that a pervading atmosphere of incompetence and neglect led the company to allow the problem to fester for 11 years before anyone acted to correct it.
GM Chief Executive Mary Barra has fired 15 people as a result of the company-commissioned investigation into why the automaker delayed recalling defective cars. Five more GM employees were disciplined.
GM still faces ongoing investigations into the ignition-switch problem by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Department of Justice and Congress.