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GM Dealerships Struggle to Provide Loaner Cars

Tina Robinson3 years ago

As part of General Motor’s efforts in the wake of February’s ignition switch recall, owners of recalled vehicles can get free loaner cars from dealerships until repairs are made. However, some dealerships are struggling to accommodate all the requests.

Demand Exceeds Supply for GM Dealers

According to USA Today, some customers with recalled vehicles have not been able to receive the free loaner cars promised by GM because dealerships cannot keep up with the demand. The car manufacturer has said it has received over 9,000 requests for loaner vehicles in the past few weeks. As a result, some dealerships are having trouble keeping up with the demand.

GM has said that any owner of a recalled vehicle is eligible for a free loaner with no questions asked. Furthermore, the automaker has given dealerships the go-ahead to use non-GM rental cars to fulfill owner requests in addition to making special arrangements for college-aged owners who might not be able to rent a vehicle otherwise. But in some cases that is simply not enough.

One dealership highlighted by USA Today has had nine customers bring their cars to the lot and refuse to drive them until the defective ignition switches are fixed. The dealership has given out all of its loaner vehicles as well as exhausted supply from the local Enterprise and still has customers waiting. Further confusion arose after one customer called the GM hotline and was told by a representative that GM can’t provide rental cars to everyone.

Judge to Hear “Park It Now” Motion

In the background of all the confusion over loaner vehicles is an emergency motion filed in a Texas court set to be heard on April 4. The “park it now” motion asks a federal judge to compel GM to issue a notice to drivers not to operate the potentially deadly vehicles until repairs are made.

A massive 1.6 million vehicle recall was announced by GM in February due to faulty ignition switches installed in several models including the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. A design flaw in the switches makes it easy for the key to be bumped out of the “on” position, causing a sudden loss of engine power and other safety features. The defective switches have been linked to at least 13 deaths and over 30 crashes.

GM has repeatedly stated that the vehicles are safe to drive but has strongly advised that owners take any extra weight off the ignition key, including extra keys and the key fob. The emergency motion contends that the recalled vehicles are unsafe to drive and the only way to prevent further injuries or deaths is for owners to cease driving the vehicles. 

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