GM’s Giant Car Recall to Finally Get Attention This Week

By on April 13, 2014

The latest estimate puts the number of vehicles General Motors will need to repair at around 2.6 million. This comes after a widespread recall of some of their smaller models for problems with ignition.

The Chevrolet Cobalt, among others, has been targeted for recall because of its faulty ignition system which has led to 303 deaths over the past several years.

Now, consumers are finally getting attention from GM and their cars will be fixed. But the deadly debacle has reach beyond the buyer-seller-manufacturer relationship and into the land of politics, where Senators and Representatives are being implored to initiate legislation that could turn problems like this into future criminal investigations.

GM Recalls 2.6 Million Cars

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The recall of General Motors vehicles like the Cobalt began in February of this year, with 778,000 car owners being informed of the need for replacement parts in the ignition system. Over the last two months, though, that number has skyrocketed into the millions as it became apparent that many more vehicles would need the service.

According to an April 8th AutoNews article, the parts were supposed to have been shipped to local dealerships this past week, but a delay has forced them to extend the repair date until this coming week.

The article, which features quotes from dealership owners around the country, goes on to say that many folks are very frustrated by the delay. This is certainly understandable as dealerships have had to provide loaner cars to customers while their GMs remain grounded in dealership parking lots.

But the news that the parts are essentially on the way is something to be happy about. Finally, this ignition problem, which has been the cause of such misery and tragedy for nearly a decade, is going to be taken care of.

At General Motors’ expense, of course.

Washington, D.C. May Have Something to Say to GM

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That’s not the end of the story, however.

Ralph Nader (along with the Center for Corporate Policy and the Center for Progressive Reform) has spearheaded a campaign to try to make it criminally illegal for the product supervisors of car manufacturers like GM to allow the sale of products known to be dangerous, not to mention to potentially fatal.

In a letter to two senators and two representatives, Nader and Co. wrote of an internal inquiry at General Motors in 2005, wherein engineers were tasked with determining whether or not the ignition systems of their small cars could be turned off by accident with a driver’s knee while driving. According to the letter, the manager sent in his report on the inquiry, stating that no actions were encouraged because it would take too long and cost too much to determine and fix the issue.

Obviously, this was a non-solution to a problem GM seemed to be well aware of. The fact that they allowed these cars to be sold (and therefore caused the deaths of over three hundred people, however indirectly) is a reason for uproar.

Whether or not Nader and the groups he’s working with will actually get the government to crack down on these horrendous oversights remains to be seen.

All we do know, for now, is that the ignition systems will be replaced this coming week. Which is certainly a cause for a great big sigh of relief.

What do you think about Nader’s plan to make this type of oversight a criminal offense? Do you believe, as we do, that such negligence ought to be prosecuted? Let’s hash it out in the comments below. 

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