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From Products Liability Law Daily, July 23, 2014

GM recalls over 700,000 more vehicles for new safety issues

By Georgia D. Koutouzos, J.D.

General Motors today announced six additional safety recalls, this time covering 717,949 recent model vehicles in the United States. The action brings the tally of recalls issued by the Detroit-based automaker in 2014 to-date to 60 and, for those keeping count, ups the total number of affected vehicles to more than 28.7 million globally and almost 25.5 million in the U.S. “These recalls signify how we’ve enhanced our approach to safety,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president, Global Vehicle Safety. “We are bringing greater rigor and discipline to our analysis and decision making. If we identify an issue—large or small—that might affect the safety of our customers, we will act decisively,” he added.

Notwithstanding the above statements, GM has faced Congressional scrutiny and numerous lawsuits of late over its responsiveness, or alleged lack thereof, to previous problems with airbag non-deployment and ignition switch defects. “GM personnel’s inability to address the ignition switch problem for over 11 years is a history of failures,” according to the May 29, 2014 Report to Board of Directors of General Motors Company Regarding Ignition Switch Recalls, a 325-page investigative report prepared at the automaker’s behest by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas.

Today’s recalls cover the following issues and vehicles:

Power Height Adjustable Seats—414,333 units affected, including

  • 2011-2012 model year Chevrolet Camaro;

  • 2010-2012 model year Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain;

  • 2011-2012 Buick Regal and LaCrosse; and

  • 2010-2012 Cadillac SRX models in the U.S. equipped with power height adjustable driver or front passenger seat structures

The bolt that secures the height adjuster actuator may become loose or fall out and, if the bolt falls out, the seat will move up and down freely because it is no longer attached at the height adjuster. The vehicles are safe to drive, but customers should not use the power height adjustable feature until dealers can replace the height adjuster bolt, according to GM, which indicated that it is aware of one crash and three injuries but no fatalities related to this condition.

Seat Hook Welds—124,007 units affected, including

  • 2014 Chevrolet Caprice;

  • 2014 Chevrolet SS;

  • 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado LD and HD;

  • 2013-2014 Cadillac ATS;

  • 2014 Cadillac CTS;

  • 2014 Cadillac ELR;

  • 2013-2014 Buick Encore; and

  • 2014-2015 GMC Sierra LD and HD

Certain vehicles may have an incomplete weld on the seat hook bracket assembly. A loss of power to a laser welding machine may have resulted in an incomplete weld, according to data collected from the machine between July 2013 and January 2014. Dealers will inspect the weld and, if it is insufficient, will replace the lower seat track at no charge. Less than one percent of welds are expected to require seat track replacement, GM said, adding that it is unaware of any crashes or injuries as a result of this issue.

Front Turn Signal Bulbs—120,426 units affected, including

  • 2011-2013 model year Buick Regal; and

  • 2013 model year Chevrolet Malibus equipped with front turn signals that use two bulbs in each front turn signal

While a driver would get a rapidly flashing turn signal arrow in the instrument cluster if both bulbs in one turn signal were burned out, there would be no signal to the driver if only one bulb on either side burns out. Dealers will reprogram the body control module to fix the condition, the automaker said, stating that it knows of no crashes, injuries, or complaints related to this issue.

Electronic Power Steering—57,242 units affected, specifically

  • 2014 Chevrolet Impalas equipped with belt-drive electric power steering

On certain vehicles, customers may experience reduced or no power steering assist at start-up or while driving due to a poor electrical ground connection to the Power Steering Control Module. If power steering is lost, a warning message is displayed on the Driver Information Center and a chime sounds. Steering control can be maintained because the vehicle will revert to manual steering mode, but would require greater driver effort particularly at low vehicle speeds. Paint may have seeped behind the nut on the power steering control module ground stud. Dealers will inspect and clean paint from behind the ground nut, re-torque the nut, and update the power steering control module software at no charge, according to GM, which said that it is aware of one crash but no injuries or fatalities related to this condition.

Lower Control Arm Ball Joint—1,919 units affected, specifically

  • 2014-2015 Chevrolet Sparks imported from Korea

These vehicles were assembled with a lower control arm bolt that was not fastened to specification, which could result in noise from the front suspension and separation of the lower control arm from the steering knuckle while driving resulting in loss of steering control. Dealers will inspect the left and right hand lower control arm attaching bolts to assure they are tightened to specification, GM said, noting that it knows of no crashes, injuries, or fatalities related to this condition.

Roof Rail Air Bag—22 units affected, specifically

  • 2015 model year Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Yukon Denali vehicles in the U.S.

In these vehicles, the roof carriers may have been attached with the wrong retaining nuts, resulting in holes or tears in the roof rail air bags if they deploy. Eight of these vehicles are in dealer stock and will be repaired before being sold, according to the automaker.

Companies: General Motors

MainStory: TopStory IndustryNewsStory MotorVehiclesNews

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