Facing mounting pressure and questions about car safety, General Motors has expanded a recall that involved problems with the ignition switch on several GM models.
General Motors first recalled 778,000 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5 cars earlier this month. The Saturn Ion, Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice, and Chevrolet HHR models have been added to the list for a total of 1.37 million vehicles. All of the models were built between 2003 and 2007.
The recall is due to a faulty ignition switch that moves out of the "run" position while the vehicle is being driven, rendering useless the engine, airbags, power brakes, and power steering. When the recall was first announced, GM said the problem was connected to 6 deaths, that number has now been increased to thirteen.
Lawsuit Raises Questions
GM has come under fire for not acting quickly enough after the ignition switches began to fail. The company has already been sued by a Georgia attorney on behalf of a woman who died in 2010 while driving her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The attorney, Lance Cooper, has also petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to fine GM for not acting quickly enough once it knew of the problem.
CNNMoney has reported a GM engineer experienced the problem while test-driving one of the vehicles in 2004, according to deposition transcripts. GM engineers concluded there was problem with the ignition switch in 2005, according to the deposition.
Current federal law requires automakers to report vehicle safety hazards to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration within five days of a reported issue. GM has said they did not believe the problems to be safety related because non-power steering and brakes were still functional. The engine could be restarted in the "park" or "neutral" position.
Information for Affected Drivers
GM said it would notify all customers and perform the necessary repairs.
To check if your vehicle is affected by the recall, visit this site and click on your car's brand. Then, go to "warranty and recalls" and input your VIN number.