When the whole GM recall issue sprung up in the past year, the whole auto industry was in for a shock. The Tavera recall, which seemed a debacle for GM India, happened to be just another day at GM headquarters. With the ignition switch recall fatalities, GM has been caught up in one of its worse crisis yet. As auto enthusiasts, we however have had a different outlook to the entire scenario. We denied it, were infuriated, bargained, were depressed; but lastly accepted the huge mess GM got itself into.
Now, we are just sad. At an interval of two weeks, we expect a press release from GM that has a mind boggling number of vehicles that are being recalled and a whole string of possible issues the vehicles may have. In this particular recall announced by General Motors, the company has issued four new recalls affecting 5,06,873 vehicles, with 4,28,211 vehicles affected in the US, 57,706 in Canada and 20,956 in other markets and followed it up with an additional recall of 7.6 million vehicles on 30th June, with 8 reported injuries and 3 deaths.
Beginning with the first set of recalls, for once it is not a GM fault, but rather a supplier fault that has caused a recall. The first vehicle to have been recalled is the Chevrolet Cruze manufactured between 2013-14 with a possible defect in the airbags that were sourced from Takata Corp. GM states that the inflator in the driver’s front airbag may rupture or the airbag may not inflate during airbag deployment. This could shoot metal pieces of the inflator into the cabin, injuring occupants during a crash. A total of 29,019 units of the Cruze have been affected in the US, with an additional 4066 units in Canada. GM stated that it was aware of an injury regarding the Cruze recall.
The largest recall of the four issued involves the 4WD versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra manufactured in 2014-15, along with the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL models. GM states that the transfer case in these vehicles may electronically switch to neutral without any input from the driver and if this occurs, power will not be sent to the wheels. In addition, if the vehicle is parked, it may roll away unexpectedly if the parking brake has not been applied. A total of 3,92,459 vehicles are affected in the US, with 53,607 in Canada and 20,874 in other markets.
The third recall is rather small and includes 4794 units of the Chevrolet Caprice police cars and SS sedans that were manufactured in 2013-14. According to GM, if the motor gear teeth become stripped, the wipers may not operate in these models. Completing the recall phase this time is the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette fitted with FE1 or FE3 suspension. Over 1939 Corvettes have been affected in the US, and needs repairs to a possible insufficient weld in the rear shocks that could lead to a fracture and reduce the service life of the shocks. 33 additional vehicles have been affected in Canada, and 82 more that were exported to other markets.
The new recall announced on 30th June had a whopping 7.6 million vehicles as part of six safety campaigns in the US and 8.5 million globally from the 1997-2014 model years. GM also stated that the recalls are connected to 7 crashes, 8 injuries and 3 deaths. The vehicles involved in the recall are the 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrique, 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero, 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am; 2000-05 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, and the 2004-08 Pontiac Grand Prix. A total of 6,80,05,679 vehicles in the US and 76,10,862 in North America have been affected with an unintended ignition key rotation issue. Also affected are 5,54,328 units in the US and 6,16,179 units of in North America of the 2013-14 Cadillac CTS and 2004-06 Cadillac SRX with the same ignition key issue.
Also affected are 2990 units in the US and 20,134 units in North America population of the 2011-14 Chevrolet Cruze, 2012-14 Chevrolet Sonic; 2013-14 Chevrolet Trax, Buick, Encore and Verano models. On certain vehicles, insulation on the engine block heater power cord may be damaged during very cold conditions. Also part of the recall are 2014 Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS that may not have had a ‘Superhold’ joint fastener torqued to specification in the assembly plant. 106 units of the vehicles have been affected in the US and 117 uits in the GMNA.
The recall also involves 2007-11 Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Sierra HD equipped with an auxiliary battery. An overload in the feed could cause the underhood fusible link to melt due to electrical overloading and cause potential smoke or flames that could damage the electrical centre. 9371 units of the vehicles have been affected in the US and 12,008 units have been affected in North America. Lastly, the 2005-07 Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender, Saab 9-7x; 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT and GMX Envoy XL have a possible electrical short in the driver’s door module that could disable the power door lock and window switches. 1,81,984 units in the US and and 1,88,705 in North America have been affected.
With so many cars recalled on a regular basis, it is highly likely that General Motors has issued the maximum number of recalls globally ever. GM CEO Marry Barra also stated that “Our customers deserve more than we delivered in these vehicles. That has hardened my resolve to set a new industry standard for vehicle safety, quality and excellence.” She also went on to add that if any other issues come to the company’s attention, GM will not hesitate to act appropriately.
GM expects the recall to cost up to $1.2 billion in the second quarter, while the previous recalls have cost the company over $700 million. While a majority of the vehicles sold in India have not been affected, the recall issue has surely tarnished its image globally, which has also resulted in a steep decline of sales for the company, not to mention the resale value their cars have lost. Will you still buy a GM product?