Well, this is not good for General Motors. Following a report last week that GM was recalling 778,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compacts over concerns that the ignition could switch out of the "run" position without warning, USA Today reports that the Detroit-based behemoth knew about the issue, which affected 2005 to 2007 Cobalts (the Cobalt shown above and in the gallery is from 2010) and 2007 Pontiac G5s, all the way back in 2004.

The information comes from a deposition in a civil lawsuit against GM, obtained by USA Today, which claims that a GM engineer experienced the issue while the then-new model was undergoing testing. The issue was "solved" when a technical service bulletin was issued in 2005, informing dealers to install a snap-on key cover on the cars of customers who complained about the issue. According to the Cobalt's program engineering manager, Gary Altman, the cover was an "improvement, it was not a fix to the issue."

The case where the depositions were made was from 2010, and involved Brooke Melton, a 29-year-old pediatric nurse in Georgia who was killed on her birthday. At the time, police claimed she was going too fast on a wet, rural road, although it later came out through the black box that her car's ignition had come out of the "run" position at least three seconds before the accident (the max amount of time a black box records before a wreck), disabling her airbags, power steering and anti-lock brakes. According to USA Today, police said Melton was "traveling too fast for the roadway conditions," although it's impossible to know if she'd have been in the wreck, which injured the occupants of another vehicle, had her 2005 Chevy not shut off. GM settled the Melton family's case, although the details remain confidential.

As we reported last week, GM knew of 22 crashes relating to the ignition issue and six deaths that came from "frontal-impact crashes." According to USA Today, GM wouldn't say whether Melton was one of the six known deaths, as she wasn't in a frontal-impact accident.


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  • 95 Comments
      Stang70Fastback
      • 10 Months Ago
      Oops...
      wanderlust
      • 10 Months Ago
      Old gm or new gm?
      Eggshen
      • 10 Months Ago
      I have had cars die on me while driving, one a complete electrical shutdown. The steering effort gets very high but there is enough boost left for a couple of braking applications. I wonder what happens in a car with electric steering if the key is inadvertently turned off as in this GM problem?
      dustyjoe
      • 9 Months Ago
      They better add more vehicles to this, my 2003 Monte Carlo had an ignition switch failure that shut down systems while driving last year. Cost 420.00 to repair.
      James John
      • 10 Months Ago
      Well, it is GM, so what did u expect, integrity? LOL
      Dmitriy Markelov
      • 10 Months Ago
      It is extremely sad that we have an abundance of GM fanboys whose first response to this news is something along the lines of "Toyota had problems too!". I don't care very much for Toyota either but GM intentionally killing people isn't suddenly negated by another manufacturer's issues. The family of the 6 people killed by GM due to this issue aren't going to feel any better because someone else died in a Toyota. Hold these corporations accountable because all GM execs think when they see someone proudly wearing their Chevy/GM/Pontiac/etc gear is “Sweet, we’ve got another moron who is dedicating themselves to our brand!”. Marketing at its finest!
        fran
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Dmitriy Markelov
        Exactly my point too
        Dmitriy Markelov
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Dmitriy Markelov
        The down votes are hilarious too because these people think that GM really wants to come into their homes and tuck them in at night. If you were terminally ill and had two choices to make, 1) buy a GM car/truck or 2)buy a medical device that will allow you to be mobile and live for another 2 years so you could spend the time with your loved ones, GM will whole heartedly prefer that you buy the car/truck so they could milk the last $40k they can get out of you before you die.
          MechE
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Dmitriy Markelov
          I fully agree with you, however I dont see many comments about Toyota other than one troll.
      Dmitriy Markelov
      • 10 Months Ago
      If someone in my family is in a fatal accident and it is found that the airbags, power steering and power brakes didn't function because GM didn't want to spend the money to correct a problem they learned about ten years prior, the onlyl thing that isn't right is GM taking it upon themselves to kill my family.
      d
      • 10 Months Ago
      It isn't surprising. Every car that comes out of the Lordstown assembly plant is garbage. GM has a huge problem with quality there. The Youngstown UAW workers think that showing up for work and turning a screw one turn and then playing cards for the rest of the day entitles them to full pay and overtime. Nearly every Cruze that came off that line required repairs before the car even went to a dealer.
        NickL
        • 10 Months Ago
        @d
        My Cruze, built in Lordstown, has been completely trouble free for more than 20,000 miles
          Jerry
          • 10 Months Ago
          @NickL
          Let us know how you feel about it at 60,000 miles. Just about any car will be trouble free for the first 20,000 miles.
        Jerry
        • 10 Months Ago
        @d
        The quarantine lot at the Lordstown plant was huge the first two years of production. You name it, they had a row for it. Leaks, weird noises, things not fitting together, DOA on first startup, etc. Not sure how it is now because I left GM. Between the Cobalt, Cruze, and Malibu debacles I got pulled into while at GM, I doubt I will ever buy another GM car.
          NightFlight
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Jerry
          Jerry, where are you working now? You've given us a LOT of insight into what goes on inside of GM that isn't general public knowledge, especially with the Malibu.
      Aurio Salimonne
      • 10 Months Ago
      Marry Bara just said on and interview,no more crappy cars!,sad for the families and reason why a toyota is number One,better build,better design and last forever (the Camry pedal was the suppliers foult and even with that problem,you just can't argue how many old toyotas compare to old GM are on the road today?)
      keycoins
      • 10 Months Ago
      I have a Toyota Camry and it has problem after problem with it.These repairs are not cheap to fix. 400 dollars and up. The lady friend has a Toyota Camry and it has the same things happening to it. Won't buy another Toyota.
        Tanooki2003
        • 10 Months Ago
        @keycoins
        What's this have to do with Chevy ignition issues?
        normc32
        • 10 Months Ago
        @keycoins
        If they won't fix it regardless of warranty, get rid of it.
      BGJ
      • 10 Months Ago
      When you drive so fast on a washed out dirt road that it vibrates the car so badly that the ignition turns off, sorry that's on you. Just like if you overreact when avoiding something on the highway and you roll over your SUV, that's on you. Guess what, cars are not tanks and will not save your life in every possible mis-use condition. Take responsibility of your stupidity, and own it.
        Jerry
        • 10 Months Ago
        @BGJ
        Some of the cases happened when the driver hit a bad pothole. All cars should be able to handle a hit from a big pothole. They are not always unavoidable. Especially after this winter.
        buckfeverjohnson
        • 10 Months Ago
        @BGJ
        This is black box recorded information. This is a tool that is never calibrated after manufacture. So it might say she was speeding, but it is a mistake to count on this information. Florida has a habit of using black box info and I contend it is a mistake (especially when they prosecute based on said information).
        William Weisberg
        • 10 Months Ago
        @BGJ
        You would be singing a different tune if it happened to either you or your family member. The reality is that there are defective vehicles in the market place, and some of those products kill, with not fault on the part of the owner/operator. GM settled this lawsuit because they were probably looking at the prospect of punitive damages on top of compensatory damages had the case gone to trial.
      mitytitywhitey
      • 10 Months Ago
      I didn't care for the Toyota fanboys defending Toyota, and I don't care for the GM fanboys defending GM either. Americans get too personally involved in franchises. This is like defending an NFL player who committed heinous crimes because he's in your fantasy league.
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