General Motors announced a recall of 1.3 million cars on Tuesday for problems related to power steering in 4 North American compact car models.
The recall covers the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit (sold in Canada), and 2005-2006 Pontiac G4 (sold in Mexico).
“After our in-depth investigation, we found that this is a condition that takes time to develop," Jamie Hresko, GM Vice President of Quality, said in a statement released this morning. "It tends to occur in older models out of warranty. Recalling these vehicles is the right thing to do for our customers' peace of mind.”
The voluntary recall comes after the National Highway and Traffic Safety administration concluded an investigation beginning on Jan. 27, 2009 into 905,000 Cobalt models after receiving over 1,100 complaints of loss of power steering assist, 14 crashes and one injury.
Owners reported failures that went away after restarting the car.
"Power steering started to go out occasionally," said one complaint filed February 18 of this year on a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. "It would come back on if I turned off and restarted the car. Quickly became more frequent."
GM has said that drivers can still control the affected models in the event of loss of power steering assist, though controlling the cars may require greater steering effort under 15mph.
"While greater steering effort under 15 mph may be required, if the customer experiences loss of power steering assist, it is important to note that the vehicle can still be safely controlled because the customer can still steer the vehicle,” Hresko said. “When the condition occurs, both a chime will sound and a ‘Power Steering’ message will be displayed.”
GM has not announced a remedy yet, but has noted that plans are being developed and that customers will be notified when the plan is finalized.
Automotive recalls are nothing new, but their reception as of late has been extremely hostile. The GM recall comes at a time in which lapses in automotive quality are met with extreme scrutiny, especially by the U.S. government.
Last week, Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda appeared in front of a House Committee in Washington, D.C. to testify and apologize for safety issues related to several Toyota models.
Owners of the recalled cars can contact their dealer or GM directly at their owner center website http://www.gm.com/gmownercenter/gm/.