In 2014, GM issued 71 different recalls covering 26.5 million vehicles in the U.S. and nearly 30 million more worldwide. These represent the largest vehicle recall in history, but the reasons for the recalls vary. Recalls were issued for faulty exhaust components that can overheat and cause a fire, faulty designs on side airbags that can cause them to malfunction during a crash, and most notoriously, faulty ignition switches that can cause the car to stall, thereby disabling the airbags.
The defective product lawyers at Shelnutt & Varner are following this situation very closely. If you or someone you know has been injured due to a defective GM ignition switch, call us today at 256-547-4988 for a free case review.
Ignition Switch Recall
The ignition switch recall began in February of 2014, affecting over 1.6 million vehicles. A problem was detected that can affect the safe operation of the airbag system. Heavy key chains could cause the ignition switch to move out of the run position, turning off the engine while the vehicle is still in motion. In a crash situation, drivers could unexpectedly lose control of their power steering, and the airbags would be disabled leading to the potential for serious injury or death.
Expanding Investigation and Lawsuits
General Motors is now facing multiple class action lawsuits alleging that the company delayed the recall for several years after the ignition problem was initially detected. The lawsuits claim that if GM had reported the defect to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) when it was first discovered, multiple deaths and injuries could have been prevented.
The New York Times reported on a service bulletin sent to dealerships in 2006 just after the first round of recalls. In the first round of recalls, only two of the six models mentioned in the bulletin were included, accounting for only half the affected cars. Two weeks later, GM added the other four models mentioned in the dealership bulletin. Aside from delaying the recall for more than a decade from when they first became aware of the issue, many people see this staggering amount of additions to the recall as a means of diminishing the severity of the issue.
For their part, GM is replacing the ignition switches in all affected vehicles and has set aside $625 million for victims. Unfortunately, class action lawsuits are unlikely to provide proper compensation for those who were injured or the families coping with wrongful death. Therefore, additional lawsuits can and will be filed by our attorneys should the need arise.
Mounting Injuries and Deaths
Originally, GM claimed to know of only 13 deaths and a total of 31 crashes related to the switches. Today, more than ten times that many have been linked to the problem. 124 deaths and 17 victims with severe physical injuries, including permanent brain damage, and horrible burns have been identified. Another 258 victims have been identified who suffered injuries requiring hospitalization or medical treatment.
Ignition Switch Recall Timeline and Models Affected
February 10, 2014: GM issues the initial recall of 619,122 vehicles, including:
- 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2007 Pontiac G5 vehicles
February 25, 2014: GM increased the recall to 1.6 million total vehicles to include all models from the 2006 dealership bulletin:
- 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR
- 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice
- 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
- 2007 Saturn Sky
March 27, 2014, : GM notified the NHTSA that the defective ignition switches may have been used as service replacement parts, expanding the recall to nearly one million additional vehicles:
- 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2008-2010 Saturn Sky
- 2008-2010 Pontiac G5
- 2008-2010 Pontiac Solstice
- 2008-2011 Chevrolet HHR vehicles
June 12, 2014: GM issues another ignition recall that it claims is unrelated, for:
- 2010-2014 Chevrolet Camaro
June 15, 2014: 3,360,555 additional vehicles are identified including:
- 2005-2009 Buick Lacrosse
- 2006-2014 Chevrolet Impala
- 2000-2005 Cadillac Deville
- 2007-2011 Cadillac DTS
- 2006-2011 Buick Lucerne
- 2005 Buick Regal LS and GS
- 2006-2007 Chevy Monte Carlo
June 29, 2014: More than 8.5 million vehicles recalled because the key can be bumped out of run position while driving:
- 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu
- 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrique
- 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero
- 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am
- 2000-2005 Chevrolet Impala
- 2000-2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
- 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
- 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS
- 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX
August 6, 2014: The key can be removed from the ignition while the vehicle is running:
- 2002-2004 Saturn Vue
September 3, 2014: Almost 50,000 vehicles are added to the ignition recall:
- 2008-2009 Pontiac G8
- 2011-2013 Chevrolet Caprice
What Should You Do?
To find out if your vehicle is included in any recall, perform a VIN search at the NHTSA website or visit safercar.gov. If your car is included in this GM recall, contact your dealer immediately to arrange a service appointment to have your ignition switch replaced. Remove all other keys and the lock fob from your ignition key to reduce the weight of your ignition.
Car makers are held to high standards and must meet guidelines set by the government for safety. If a company sidesteps these guidelines or continues to sell a vehicle that they know has defective parts, it can be held liable for the suffering, injuries, illness, or death that results. Contact our injury attorneys at Shelnutt & Varner today for help with your lawsuit by calling 256-547-4988.