No, General Motors is not recalling the Chevrolet Cruze because DVD copies of Steven Seagal's seminal 1997 hit Fire Down Below were left in the trunk of every car that's been sold. If wishing made it so. Rather, the Cruze has been recalled to modify the engine shield that's located under the vehicle. The worry is that any fluids that might leak from above could potentially collect on top of the shield and then ignite and start a fire.

You may recall that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the Cruze in April over engine fires and then last month expanded its investigation to include 370,000 vehicles spanning two model years. The official recall announced today affects 413,418 Cruzes for the 2011 and 2012 model years that were built in the United States through May 2012. That includes every Cruze built so far at the company's Lordstown, OH assembly plant through the end of last month.

GM is also simultaneously executing a second, smaller recall on up to 249 Cruzes that may have partially completed welds in their trunks.

This is not the first time that nearly every Cruze sold to the public has been recalled. In May 2011, GM recalled the Cruze to inspect each unit's intermediate steering shaft covers to ensure they were properly installed.
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GM Recalls Chevrolet Cruzes for Safety Modifications

DETROIT – General Motors will recall 413,418 Chevrolet Cruzes in the United States for the 2011 and 2012 model years to modify the engine shield under the vehicle. This change will help prevent any liquids from being trapped in the engine compartment, where a fire could start and spread.

In a separate safety recall, GM will inspect certain cars included in the first recall to assure all welds in the rear compartment were properly applied. Omitted or partially completed welds in up to 249 cars may affect the fuel tank strap secondary brackets attachment to the floor structure and a sub assembly to the rear floor pan.

There are no known crashes, injuries or fatalities related to either recall. Only Cruzes built in Lordstown, Ohio, and sold in the United States and Canada and several hundred exported to Israel are affected.

"The most important thing for our customers to know is that we are proactively working to assure the Cruze is the safe and durable car they purchased," said GM vice president of Global Quality Alicia Boler-Davis. "We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by these actions."

All Cruzes with manual and automatic transmissions built in the United States from September 2010 through May 2012 are included in the engine shield modification.

Improper engine oil change procedures on these vehicles can result in the spilling or dripping of oil. If oil contacts hot engine or exhaust system surfaces, and the engine shield, the shield may ignite and burn, resulting in a possible engine compartment fire.

In Cruzes with manual transmissions, continuing to drive with a completely worn clutch may cause hydraulic fluid to be expelled from the clutch housing vent hole. Under certain circumstances, the fluid could be burning as it exits the vent hole. If it contacts the engine shield, the shield may ignite and a fire may spread to the engine compartment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary investigation in April of this year as a result of two engine compartment fires in 2011 model year Cruzes and later added the 2012 model year.

Modifying the engine shield will take about 30 minutes in a Chevrolet dealership service department and will be conducted free of charge. No parts are involved and customers are encouraged to make an appointment with their dealer at their earliest convenience. Owner letters will mailed be beginning July 11. Inspection for the possible missing welds takes only a few minutes. In confirmed cases, the repair would take about three hours.