GM recalls 2.7M more cars; industry on record pace
By TOM KRISHER | AP Auto Writer May 15, 2014 7:48AM
General Motors recalled another 2.7 million cars Thursday, sending the company’s total of recalled vehicles in the U.S. this year above 11 million. | AP file photo
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Updated: May 15, 2014 9:17AM
DETROIT — General Motors recalled another 2.7 million cars Thursday, sending the company’s total of recalled vehicles in the U.S. this year above 11 million and putting the auto industry on track to set a record for recalls in 2014.
GM said the cars are being recalled to fix problems with brake lights, headlamps and power brakes. GM will take a $200 million charge this quarter, mostly to cover the repairs.
Along with sizeable recalls from Toyota, Ford, Chrysler and others, GM’s actions have the U.S. auto industry on pace to break the record of 30.8 million recalled vehicles set in 2004.
A number of factors are behind the large numbers of recalls. GM is reviewing all of its vehicles for safety issues following a recall earlier this year of 2.6 million older small cars with a defective ignition switch. GM knew about the switch problem for a decade before finally issuing a recall. The company links the problem to 13 deaths.
Industrywide, automakers are moving faster to fix problems than they have in the past in a bid to avoid bad publicity and record fines from government agencies.
Jeff Boyer, the new safety chief at GM, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the company is looking at cases that were under review in its system and moving to resolve them as fast as possible. GM, he says, has added 35 people to its recall review team.
“We’re not waiting for warranty trends to develop over time,” Boyer said. “It’s not only about frequency, it has to be about the seriousness of the potential defect as well.”
The largest of the new recalls is 2.4 million midsize cars to fix corrosion that can cause brake lights to fail. The $200 million charge is on top of a $1.3 billion charge GM took in the first quarter, mostly tied to recalls.
GM’s handling of the ignition switch situation has subjected it to investigations from two congressional committees, the Justice Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It’s also brought a shake-up in the ranks, with two top engineers leaving the company, two more suspended with pay and the appointment of Boyer to oversee safety.
Thursday’s recalls at GM also included more than 140,000 Chevrolet Malibu midsize cars to fix a problem with the power-assisted brakes, plus another 112,000 older Corvettes for headlight problems and 19,000 Cadillac CTSs for faulty windshield wipers. Beside the cars, GM is recalling 477 full-size pickup trucks for a steering problem.