The General Motors ignition switch recall concerning 2.2 million vehicles has expanded to include the ignition lock cylinder along with the ignition switch, due to an additional defect that can allow the removal of the ignition key while the engine is running.
GM previously recalled 2.2 million vehicles for a defect with the ignition switch that can cause the switch to move from the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” position if the driver uses a heavy keychain on rough roads. The models covered include the 2003-2007 Saturn ION, the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, the 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice, the 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, the 2007-2010 Saturn Sky, and the 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR. This would cause a loss of power, meaning that the airbags would not deploy in the event of a crash.
All 2.2 million of these recalled cars are now subject to this additional ignition lock cylinder recall. GM received complaints of keys coming out of ignition when the car is running, and disclosed today to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today that this second part is added to the recall. GM’s internal investigation found one crash and one injury claim related to the issue, with no fatalities reported. GM will replace the lock cylinder in addition to the ignition switch for affected vehicles, and—when necessary—recut and reprogram new keys.
In other ignition switch recall news, GM also announced that it will take a $1.3 billion dollar hit in the first quarter of 2014, primarily due to the cost of this recall and its subsequent fallout. The company sites courtesy loaner vehicles as a large source of this cost. On March 31, GM had said it expected to spend $750 million on the recall actions.
GM has also put two engineers on paid leave after a briefing from the U.S. attorney overseeing the investigation into the recall and the history of this ignition switch defect. The company hasn’t publicly named the engineers, nor has it said why they were suspended.