General Motors has announced that it will be recalling 778,562 compact cars after six people were killed in accidents, partially due to the airbags' failure to deploy. An issue with the ignition switch is causing the airbag issues, as well as causing the engine and other components to shut off without warning. The recall covers the 2005 to 2007 model year Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5. (Note that the Cobalt pictured above is a 2009 model.)

According to a report from Automotive News, a number of factors can cause the ignition to switch out of the run position, including weights on the key ring, rough or bumpy roads or other "jarring" events. Any of these situations could lead to some vehicle components not functioning properly.

There have been five fatal front-impact crashes that took the lives of six people, although as a GM spokesman noted, all five of the crashes happened off road and at high speed. In each of these cases, though, the lack of airbags wasn't the only lethal factor - alcohol and failure to wear a seat belt also played a role. Outside of the fatal accidents, there have been 17 other crashes where airbags didn't deploy. It's unclear if any of these crashes were caused by the engine shutting off.

According to AN, GM is contacting dealers to report to their local dealership for a new ignition switch. Naturally, all work will be done free of charge (presumably, Pontiac owners will need to report to Chevy dealers). Customers that haven't or aren't able to report for service, meanwhile, are being asked to remove "non-essential items" from their key rings. 619,122 of the affected cars are registered in the US, while 153,310 are up north, in Canada. South of the border, 6,130 cars are affected.

Once the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has posted its recall bulletin, we'll be sure to update this post.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 107 Comments
      m_2012
      • 10 Months Ago
      AB - GM is contacting who? The dealer or the OWNER? "GM is contacting dealers to report to their local dealership". I guess they do kinda jerk themselves off, so this makes sense.
      carguy1701
      • 10 Months Ago
      What I'd like to know is: 1. How fragile are these ignition switches if the weight of the key fob is breaking/otherwise damaging them? and 2. How did it take this long for it to become an issue?
      Mare O'Malley Ruddy
      • 10 Months Ago
      On January 10th, 2010 our Daughter Kelly Erin Ruddy 21 yrs. old was killed in a car accident. We received a Recall Notice from GM in April 2010 on the car a 2005 Chevy Cobalt for Power steering failure. The Recall involves removing entire power steering mechanism built by a partially owned Toyota factory. I knew the minute I got the news that my daughter was killed so violently and that it did not involve another car that it had to be mechanical failure. It was too late to save our Daughter Kelly but not too late to save others, I contacted GM who sent three representatives to the Coparts Scrap Yard in Duryea where the Cobalt was stored in July to investigate the car accident. A photographer, an accident Reconstructionist and a mechanical engineer that flew in from Detroit, the objective was to remove the black box, computer from the car and analyze the data. We went to the scrap yard and for the first time saw the wreckage that was once a beautiful red sports car. All the windows including the sun roof were blown out, the Cobalt had flipped, rolled, ejecting Kelly on to the highway where she was run over. We are not sure if Kelly was killed on impact. The Cobalt burst into flames melting the instrument panel, shift, upholstery. At the Coparts Scrap Yard in Duryea, myself and my husband Kelly’s father saw the car for the first time the Cobalt told the story of an extremely violent wreck. I was told by Mr. Patrick Burley that I would know the results from the Black Box Data the next day. When I tried to contact GM through Mr. Burley, Miss Price that they would not communicate with our family. GM has my property and they will not release the data without us providing proof that the car was defective. This is not possible since they took the most valuable piece of information from the car. I am writing you because I want the world to know what GM has done to my family. We trusted them and we were lied to. GM is a multimillion dollar car company and this is how they handle a recall. Thank you, Mary Theresa and Leo Ruddy, Parents of Kelly Erin Ruddy
        Monthra 77
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Mare O'Malley Ruddy
        I just read the news articles on your daughter's passing and I'm very sorry about your loss. But it was not the car that killed her, but your daughters inability to drive in a safe manner. Your daughter was speeding up that on ramp when she hit that embankment and flipped her car several times. She also was not wearing her seatbelt which caused her to be ejected from the car. Had she operated the car in a safe manner, your daughter would be alive today. This is your daughters fault. not GM, not the highway department, no one else's but hers.
          Monthra 77
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Monthra 77
          http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-woman-dies-in-one-vehicle-crash-on-i-81-1.538408
        normc32
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Mare O'Malley Ruddy
        Sorry about your loss. The loss of electric assist from Toyota sourced EPS(elecreic power steering) does not mean loss of steering control.
      groingo
      • 10 Months Ago
      More of thatGOVERNMENT MOTORS QUALITY!
        Raining Trolls
        • 10 Months Ago
        @groingo
        So friggin' ignorant. 1- pre bankruptcy and bailout. 2. Only trite asshats still say 'Government Motors.' 3. Nobody whatsoever will ever benefit, chuckle, or even remember your comment. 4. Congratulations, you get a troll rating of 8/10 for this!
          Raining Trolls
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Raining Trolls
          Zach- they absolutely earned the name; in 2008. Look at the calendar; it's 2014! Time to let it go, lil' man...
          zach
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Raining Trolls
          Only trite asshats act as if GM didn't earn the "Government Motors" designation.
        fran
        • 10 Months Ago
        @groingo
        Oh I got a new one- Garbage Motors! XD
      normc32
      • 10 Months Ago
      The sensationalism from Autoblog is unreal towards General Motors! Poor misleading headline and opening paragraph too! Terrible journalism!
        NightFlight
        • 10 Months Ago
        @normc32
        Bet you wouldn't say the same if it were Toyota....
          normc32
          • 10 Months Ago
          @NightFlight
          No, we've become immune to Toyota recalls in the blogisphere.
        m_2012
        • 10 Months Ago
        @normc32
        I see no sensationalism. That's how many vehicles they are recalling, and that's how many deaths have officially been tied to this. There have also been numerous other accidents, likely from the same reason. How many people have to die, in your opinion, before GM has to fix a part which they put in just to save a few cents?
          normc32
          • 10 Months Ago
          @m_2012
          "Likely"...my case in point. You speculacte as much as AB.
        r53CooperS
        • 10 Months Ago
        @normc32
        Exactly what's being sensationalized and how? Seemed like a pretty straightforward news story with stats. Words like "sensationalism" and "liberal media" get tossed around and I wonder if people even know what it means.
          normc32
          • 10 Months Ago
          @r53CooperS
          "Six people died parially due to airbags" and they were off road events clarified in the 3rd paragraph. It is the jumbling oof facts and compiling of deaths to make the case. The California boys that podcast and write here are very bias import if you haven't listened to the podcast they drive $15,000 foreign economy cars.
          m_2012
          • 10 Months Ago
          @r53CooperS
          @ normc32: The "off road" were during the event of an accident, a time when airbags and such SHOULD deploy. The jarring from the event turned the ignition off, thus turning the airbags off. These were not jokers "off-roading". These were impacts in which safety systems shut off during.
      normc32
      • 10 Months Ago
      Last of the Obalts(Obama Motors) era!
        m_2012
        • 10 Months Ago
        @normc32
        You realize these were designed more than 10 years ago, with the last being built 6 years ago, right? WAY before Obama.
          gregmlr
          • 10 Months Ago
          @m_2012
          So automakers only mastered proper airbag deployment in the last couple of years?
          CJ_313
          • 10 Months Ago
          @m_2012
          The last Cobalt/Pontiac G5 was built 4 years ago.
        carguy1701
        • 10 Months Ago
        @normc32
        Oh for the love of John Madden...
      mapoftazifosho
      • 10 Months Ago
      "all five of the crashes happened off road and at high speed. In each of these cases, though, the lack of airbags wasn't the only lethal factor - alcohol and failure to wear a seat belt also played a role." So, basically these were hill-billy crashed under typical redneck conditions? OK THEN!
      Tantoon
      • 10 Months Ago
      Can you imagine for a second what would be happening right now if it was Toyota and SIX deaths?. The Old Establishment (the rusty Detroit establishment) would be pushing for Toyota's final demise.
        fran
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Tantoon
        They would be celebrating right now
        Rayvan
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Tantoon
        I sure can... Toyota was killing people for years before they finally recalled the steering rods on the small trucks... http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/autos/2010-06-14-toyotasteering14_CV_N.htm?csp=obnetwork
          fran
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Rayvan
          Here comes the guardian angel of GM
      NightFlight
      • 10 Months Ago
      Not surprising. The Cobalt was one of the most poorly engineered vehicles in the 2000's.
        egcm2
        • 10 Months Ago
        @NightFlight
        Cobalt actually had great HP and MPG, plenty of standard features, and good reliability ratings. http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/Reliability.aspx?year=2007&make=Chevrolet&model=Cobalt&trimid=102700#VIP_TAB Don't know what you're basing your opinion on.
          egcm2
          • 10 Months Ago
          @egcm2
          @m_2012 It seems you're referring to recalls...in which case citing three that the car has had (one of those not even nationally) isn't proving much. Every manufacturer has had quite a string of them lately, many for models with less years on the market. You don't cite much to back up your opinion. The fact is the car has good reliability ratings, there are tons on the road and I've never once seen one with rust. GM's last batch of cars pre-bankruptcy were very competitive and miles ahead of what came before them.
          egcm2
          • 10 Months Ago
          @egcm2
          @carguy1701 Plastic does not equal ****. It's well laid out and easy to use. Some people don't fondle their dash's materials all day. The steering wheel has good feel. The car was also $13K starting. Equivalent cars of the time which you would say had better interiors like a Civic cost a fair bit more.
          m_2012
          • 10 Months Ago
          @egcm2
          It was still cheap crap. Just because they bought an engine from Lotus and threw in power windows didnt make it anything other than a POS rental. These things fell apart and rusted within a few years. I am surprised there are enough left to cause accidents. Killing six people, steering failing, and brakes falling off - you call that reliable?
          carguy1701
          • 10 Months Ago
          @egcm2
          It had a **** interior, even by GM standards, for one. Only half-decent one was the SS Turbo.
          • 10 Months Ago
          @egcm2
          [blocked]
      bubba_roe
      • 10 Months Ago
      Its GM, what do you expect?
      m_2012
      • 10 Months Ago
      So let me get this straight: GM says 5 similar cars ALL went off road, ALL at high speed, and ALL had fatal crashes, but alcohol or seat belts were a factor? Seems like unlikely odds. I am guessing there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of these crashes where the ignition shut off. This is just the tip. They didnt call these Cadavaliers for nothing.
        David MacGillis
        • 10 Months Ago
        @m_2012
        You are not interpreting properly. The implication isn\'t that the ignition shutting off caused the crash. It\'s that the jolt and bouncing of leaving the road caused the ignition to shut off and deactivated the airbag system. These were already high-energy crashes.
          m_2012
          • 10 Months Ago
          @David MacGillis
          Got it. So the crash or precursor to the crash turned the ignition off, thus shutting the safety system down. Makes more sense. Still unfortunate.
      Harry & Fran
      • 10 Months Ago
      Government Motors and Jap-owned Toyota have two things in common: They both are World Leaders in UNSAFE/DEFECTIVE RECALLED Vehicles ,and Both are in DENIAL and Try NOT to admit their MISTAKES. So SAD when the Facts prove many innocent people have been seriously injured and several lost their lives. ATTN: Big Bosses at GM and Jap/Yota: BE HONEST, TELL the TRUTH, and REPAIR those millions of UNSAFE/DEFECTIVE Vehicles before other innocent people are hurt or killed!
        mikemaj82
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Harry & Fran
        Newsflash: Government Motors doesn't exist anymore.
          Tariff The Imports
          • 10 Months Ago
          @mikemaj82
          Newsflash: Government Motors still exists. Canadian Federal government still owns over 31,000,000 shares.
        jtav2002
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Harry & Fran
        Unsafe defective vehicles. lol. Look at all the vehicles they both sell worldwide. Most vehicles which are recalled never even experience the issue. To actually say they are unsafe is pretty stupid, and evident of someone who just hates both manufacturers. I will admit to not having done the research, but I'm willing to bet the people who go through life never being killed in their GM or Toyota product far exceeds the amount of people killed by a defect. In fact, the percentage of those people who do die is for all intent and purposes, 0%
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