GM Recalls Nearly 600,000 More Vehicles--3rd Update

By Dow Jones Business News, 
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By Jeff Bennett

General Motors Co. announced four new recalls Friday including one covering more than half-a-million Chevrolet Camaros for an ignition switch issue.

Although similar, the auto maker said the Camaro issue isn't linked to the Chevrolet Cobalt problem which resulted in the recall of 2.6 million vehicles earlier this year. GM is facing investigations by the Justice Department, congressional leaders and the Securities and Exchange Commission over its failure to recall the vehicles for nearly 11 years.

Chief Executive Mary Barra is set to return to Capitol Hill Wednesday to answer questions on why it took the company so long to recall the vehicles. In response to the delay, the auto maker intensified the review of its recall process. The company has now issued 38 recalls covering 16.5 million vehicles throughout North America.

The company had previously said it was taking a $1.7 billion charge--including $400 million during the current quarter--to cover the costs associated with the variety of recalls. Ms. Barra has declined to say whether the company will increase the charge.

Regarding the Camaro, an internal review by GM found that a tall driver who sits to close to the Camaro's steering wheel can hit the fob. The jarring of the fob can knock the switch from the "run" to "accessory" position. The auto maker will issue the drive a new key fob.

GM is aware of three crashes that resulted in four minor injuries that it believes may be attributed to this condition. The company will change the Camaro key to a standard design.

The recall includes more than 464,700 Camaros from the 2010-2014 model years in the U.S. An additional 46,816 were sold in Canada and Mexico.

In the Chevrolet Cobalt, a jarring of or too much weight on the key can cause the switch to move from "run" to " accessory" thereby cutting power to air bags and electronic steering. That issue, said GM, was caused by the switch design that was later changed by a lower-level engineer who has since been dismissed from the company.

Separately, the company announced three additional recalls covering about 69,840 vehicles.

The first is a recall of 28,789 Saab 9-3 convertibles from the 2004-2011 model years for an automatic tensioning system cable in the driver's side front seat belt retractor that could break. GM is making the move after learning of customer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The company recalled about 21,560 Chevrolet Sonic 2012 model year compacts equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine for a condition in which the transmission turbine shaft may fracture as a result of a supplier quality issue.

Lastly, the company recalled 14,765 model year 2014 Buick LaCrosse sedans because a wiring splice in the driver's door may corrode and break.

The company will notify customers and make the repairs at no expense to the owners.

Write to Jeff Bennett at jeff.bennett@wsj.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires


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  06-13-141202ET
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