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GM Expands Ignition Switch Recall

The Problem: General Motors today expanded an earlier recall of 619,122 U.S.-market cars to cover a total of 1.37 million vehicles. In affected models, faulty ignition switches could inadvertently move from "Run" to the "Off" position if the driver's keychain is heavy and the vehicle hits a bump. This turns off most of the electrical components in the car, which in the best-case scenario would stall the car. However, the recall was prompted because a crash could jolt the ignition to "Off" and disable the car's airbags, increasing the risk of injury. GM said today that it has reports of 31 crashes in which the front airbags didn't deploy due to this problem, and 13 reports of deaths due to the issue.

The initial recall covered only the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5, but the automaker says it was not rigorous in determining the full extent of this problem. In a statement, GM North American president Alan Batey said, "We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can… The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been."

The Fix: GM recommends that owners remove the ignition key from a keychain so there is no unnecessary weight hanging on the ignition switch. The automaker will inspect all affected cars and replace the ignition switches for free.

Number Of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 1,367,146 vehicles, comprising the 2003-2007 Saturn ION, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice, 2006-2007 Saturn Sky, 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, and 2007 Pontiac G5.