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GM Faces 107 Questions from NHTSA in Recall Investigation

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Jarod Cassidy4 years ago

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent a 27-page letter to General Motors requesting that the auto manufacturer provide detailed information and documents related to an ongoing investigation into their most recent recall.

About the Investigatory Letter

According to USA Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the letter Tuesday in which it ordered GM to address 107 specific questions and file a report regarding the inquiries no later than April 3. Among the questions be asked by the regulatory authority is why the automaker failed to fix the switches in  2004 when the problem was first detected.

Federal guidelines state that automakers must notify the NHTSA within five business days of a safety defect being detected. Failure to do so is punishable up to $35 million in fines, as well as a possible criminal investigation.

The NHTSA is now demanding:

  • A complete record of incidents, crashes and deaths involving the ignition switch defect, including consumer complaints, warranty claims, dealer reports, lawsuits and arbitration proceedings.
  • Specific details of the defective switch, such as what modification were made to the switch – and why – before and after the part’s number was changed in 2008. Documents indicate that the switch was modified in 2007 model year, without a number change.
  • All details regarding decisions made by people who were handling reports of problems with the affected switches including the names of those all who were involved in making the decisions.

Details of the Ignition Switch Recall

The NHTSA has determined that faulty ignition switches found in several GM models can move out of the “run” position and into the “accessory” or “off” positions while the vehicles are being driven. The defect can be triggered by jarring events such as bumpy roads or something as simple as a heavy key ring.

When such an incident occurs, drivers lose features such as power steering, power brakes and anti-lock brakes. The defect can also result in airbags failing to deploy in the event of a collision.

So far, at least 31 frontal collisions have been attributed to the defect resulting in at least 13 deaths.

The recall currently affects roughly 1.6 million vehicles. Models recalled in the U.S. are:

  • 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
  • 2007 Pontiac G5
  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR
  • 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2006-2007 Saturn Sky


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