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From Products Liability Law Daily, May 21, 2014

GM announces a flurry of recalls as bad news continues for the automaker

By Joe Bichl

General Motors issued four new recalls on Tuesday, May 21, bringing its total for the year to 13.5 million vehicles, already the most in the company’s history. The current recalls include 2.4 million cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.

Last week, GM agreed to pay a record $35 million civil penalty as a result of findings from the NHTSA’s “timeliness investigation” regarding the automaker’s handling of the recall of 2.59 million small cars over faulty ignition switches, which resulted in airbag deployment failure.

The first of the current recalls involves 1,339,355 model year 2009-2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles and model year 2014 and 2009-2010 Saturn Outlook vehicles. The vehicles can experience flexible steel cable fatigue. GM stated in its recall notice that the flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue and separate over time. In such instances, the seat belt may not properly restrain the seat occupant increasing the risk of an injury in a crash, the automaker warned.

The second recall includes some 216,000 model year 2004-2008 Chevrolet Aveo vehicles equipped with daytime running lights (DRL). Heat generated within the DRL module located in the center console in the instrument panel could melt the DRL module causing a vehicle fire, the company warned.

Approximately 19,225 model year 2014 Cadillac CTS vehicles were included in the third recall notice. In these vehicles, the wiper system may become inoperable. “If the vehicle is turned off with wiper functionality left on and the wipers then become restricted, such as when covered in ice or snow, and the vehicle's battery goes dead and needs to be jump started, upon being jump started, the wipers will be inoperative,” according to GM. The company warned that an inoperative windshield wiper system may decrease the driver's visibility, increasing the risk of a crash.

In addition, GM has recalled some 1,402 model year 2015 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV vehicles because the vehicles may experience only partial passenger air bag deployment, making the vehicles incompatible with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.” Specifically, the air bag module is secured to a chute adhered to the backside of the instrument panel with an insufficiently heated infared weld. This may result in only a partial deployment of the front passenger air bag in the event of a crash.

Finally, GM recalled approximately 214 model year 2004-2008 Chevrolet Optra vehicles because headlamp switch overheating can start a vehicle fire. GM indicated that heat may generate to such a degree in the headlamp switch or daytime running light (DRL) module that either module can melt, increasing the risk of a vehicle fire.

To determine a particular remedy, owners may contact General Motors at 1-800-222-1020 (Chevrolet), 1-800-521-7300 (Buick), 1-800-462-8782 (GMC), and 1-800-553-6000 (Saturn). Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or visit http://www.safercar.gov.

Companies: General Motors.

MainStory: TopStory ProductRecallsNews NHTSANews MotorVehiclesNews

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