It turns out the transition into a new year doesn’t necessarily mean good tidings for General Motors. They kicked off 2015 in much the same way as they spent most of 2014; by issuing a new voluntary recall for safety issues.
The latest recall, which involves nearly 92,000 of the company’s sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks, was issued on New Year’s Day, perhaps to limit the audience for the announcement. The vehicles subject to the recall include specific models of Cadillac Escalade, including ESV and EST models; Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Silverado and Silverado HD, Chevy Suburban, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Tahoe LD and HD, and Yukon and Yukon XL.
Like the bulk of the recalls issued in 2014, this latest one has to do with vehicle ignition switches. In this case, the ignition lock actuator on these vehicles may have an outer diameter that exceeds specifications, which can cause the ignition key to become stuck in the “start” position. When a vehicle is driven under those circumstances and the vehicle “experiences a significant jarring event,” the ignition cylinder may shift into the “accessory” position, which can have a negative effect on engine power, as well as power steering and power braking.
In all, GM expects to have to replace fewer than 500 of the ignition switches, so this problem is nothing compared to last year’s ignition switch problem, in which it was found that ignition switches could be jostled out of place. That problem, which led to at least 40 deaths, resulted in the recalls of millions of vehicles in a year in which the company and the auto industry as a whole set records for vehicle recalls. In all, there were more than 800 recalls affecting 63.5 million U.S. vehicles industry-wide, with GM alone conducting 84 recalls affecting nearly 27 million American cars.
One reason GM may seem to be quicker to recall vehicles now may be due to what happened last year, when they found out the ignition problem affected older vehicles and had been covered up for nearly a decade. As a result, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Department of Transportation hit the company with a $35 million fine. Of course, the Department of Justice is also negotiating with GM to settle with victims, so that number will likely be dwarfed later.
Those who own these vehicles will receive a recall notice. They should follow the recall exactly and take their vehicle to the dealer to have the problem repaired as soon as possible. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in any accident involving a potentially defective or recalled vehicle, please contact the experienced and knowledgeable Texas Automobile Defect Attorneys at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible to protect your rights under the law.