Chevrolet Cobalt

General Motors is gearing up to begin recalling 1.6-million cars for faulty ignition switches, and in preparation, it has struck deals with rental car agencies Enterprise, Avis and Hertz to reserve thousands of loaner vehicles to serve affected customers. The company has even dropped its policy to only rent out GM models from the current or previous year, which means some owners will likely be driving competitors' cars during the repair.

Drivers who don't feel safe in their recalled vehicles can bring them to a dealer in exchange for a loaner until their car is repaired. Not only will GM cover the cost of the loaner car, it will also cover any additional insurance should the customer's own policy not offer sufficient coverage, notes Kicking Tires. So far, a few thousand owners have taken advantage of the exchange, according to The Detroit News. GM spokesperson Jim Cain tells Autoblog the recall campaign is scheduled to begin "on or about April 7."

While it's possible a few drivers of recalled cars could end up in competitor's vehicles, Cain tells us "most if not all of them will have GM vehicles." Dealers will first take cars from their own loaner fleets, and the rental agencies have many of the automaker's models as well. "We didn't want anyone to be inconvenienced," said Cain about the change in policy.

Delphi is supplying the new ignition switches and is running two shifts to keep up with demand, according to The Detroit News. The newspaper claims the repair only takes a few hours, but depending on how many cars a dealer is servicing at once, the loaners could be out for days or weeks at a time. If GM doesn't have enough of its own models to lend, it could mean a lot of time for already disgruntled GM owners to get used to another vehicle.