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4 more GM cars added to recall over faulty switch

Owners of 235,855 General Motors vehicles in Ontario and nationwide might have been informed that their vehicles are part of a recall that recently added four more models. A total of 1.37 million vehicles are affected by the recall action due to concern that a faulty ignition switch could lead to car accidents after shutting off the engines and electrical systems unexpectedly.

The danger to motorists after such an event is compounded by the fact that the vehicles’ airbags will not inflate without the electrical system being operational. This means that the malfunctioning vehicle could stop working in the middle of fast-moving traffic, leaving it vulnerable to collisions from other cars, and those collisions would not trigger the safety airbags to protect drivers and passengers.

The defect in the vehicles’ ignition switches allowed them to move from “run” mode to “accessory” mode if the vehicles are jarred or if the switches are pulled down by heavy key rings, according to the automaker. The U.S. National Highway Safety Administration has said that the malfunctioning equipment had led to 31 crashes and 13 front-seat deaths by the time of the announcement.

The recall had previously been announced on Feb. 13 for 780,000 Pontiac G5s and Chevrolet Cobalts made for the model years 2005 to 2007. Added to those by the later announcement from the automaker were the 2003-07 Saturn Ion, 2006-07 Saturn Sky, 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR and the 2007 Pontiac Solstice.

In the case of an auto accident caused by faulty equipment, liability may be determined through an accident investigation. If serious injuries or death occurs due to a vehicle defect, the manufacturer may be held financially liable if it has not taken steps to address the situation.

Source: CBC News, “GM adds 4 models to ignition switch recall”, February 26, 2014