588,000 Saturn Sky, Saturn Ion, Pontiac Solstice and Chevy HHR models join the 778,000 cars already being recalled.

General Motors has announced a massive expansion of a 778,000-unit recall we told you about two weeks ago, doubling not only the total number of cars affected but expanding the recall beyond Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models previously mentioned. The recall originally centered around ignition switches that could slip out of the "run" position if jostled or if any weight was applied to the key in the cylinder.

The recall has swollen to over 1.3-million units, and where before it was limited to vehicles built between 2005 and 2007, it now includes vehicles screwed together in 2003 and 2004, as well. Saturn Ion coupes and sedans built between 2003 and 2007, Chevrolet HHR vanlets built between 2006 and 2007 and the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky roadsters from 2006 and 2007 are now all included in the recall.

At the same time, the number of accidents being attributed to the faulty ignition switches has grown, as well. Thirteen fatalities in 31 accidents are being blamed on vehicles that switched out of the "run" position without warning, a situation that prevented airbags from deploying. That's up from the original report's 6 deaths and 22 accidents.

GM has begun the intensive process of informing owners of the affected vehicles, and according to its press release, available below, it will not limit its efforts to written notifications. In addition to letters, it will reach out via social media and its customer care centers. Owners of affected vehicles are being asked to report to dealers for the installation of a new ignition switch. Those that are delayed in getting the repair should remove any weights, such as keyrings, from their ignition key.

Finally, GM is taking the blame for its lack of oversight, after it was revealed in court depositions that the Detroit-based manufacturer knew about the bad ignition switches while the affected models were still new, by submitting a chronology of events to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been," Alan Batey, GM's North American president, said in a statement. "Today's GM is committed to doing business differently and better. We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward."

It would appear that GM has just opened up itself to a great deal of liability and lawsuit potential – we're looking into the potential ramifications of this admission and recall expansion, and we'll get back to you when we know more. For now, take a look at the full press release from GM below.
Show full PR text
GM Expands Ignition Switch Recall

Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Ion and Sky included
Company Launches Process Review

DETROIT – General Motors is expanding the recall of certain 2003-2007 model year vehicles to correct a condition with the ignition switch that may allow the key to unintentionally move or switch to the "accessory" or "off" position, turning off the engine and most of the electrical components on the vehicle.

In addition to 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Pursuit sold in Canada only, GM is separately recalling 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs, and 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky models. The affected U.S. vehicle population, including those vehicles recalled Feb. 13, totals 1,367,146.

This expanded vehicle population raises the number of reported incidents involving frontal crashes, in which the recall condition may have caused or contributed to the non-deployment of the frontal airbags, to 31 involving 13 front-seat fatalities.

As part of the recall, GM is taking steps to address customer concerns and working with its suppliers to increase parts production and accelerate availability.

GM will notify all affected customers that in addition to recalling their vehicles and performing repairs at no charge to them, GM and its dealers will work with customers on an individual, case-by-case basis to minimize inconvenience associated with the recall.

"Ensuring our customers' safety is our first order of business," said GM North America President Alan Batey. "We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can."

Going beyond required written notification, GM, through its customer care centers and social media teams, is using customer records and communications channels to notify affected customers of the recall and additional actions the company is willing to take to relieve their concerns and minimize inconvenience.

GM is recalling these vehicles because the ignition switch torque performance may not meet GM specifications. If the torque performance is not to specification, and the key ring is carrying added weight or the vehicle goes off road or experiences some other jarring event, the ignition switch may inadvertently be moved out of the "run" position.

The timing of the key movement out of the "run" position, relative to the activation of the sensing algorithm of the crash event, may result in the airbags not deploying, increasing the potential for occupant injury in certain kinds of crashes.

Dealers will replace the ignition switch to prevent the unintentional or inadvertent key movement. Until this correction is performed, customers should use only the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring. As always, customers should drive responsibly and use their safety belts.

On Monday, the company submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a detailed chronology associated with its initial recall of the ignition switch torque performance condition in Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s and Pursuits. The chronology outlines events that happened during the time that elapsed between receiving the first field reports and issuing a recall.

"The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been," said Batey. "Today's GM is committed to doing business differently and better. We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward."

About General Motors Co.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Eta Carinae
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dammnit.....GM does not need this right now :/
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh no, see this was the old GM. Hell yeah we did it! Good luck collecting on that.....
      • 1 Year Ago
        • 1 Year Ago
        You are not missing anything. Yours is just too new. GM is waiting a few years so your 2009 will be in the junkyard and they will not have to replace any parts.
        • 11 Months Ago
        I had that problem with my 2009 Saturn Sky. When the airbag light would come on the windshield wipers and radio wouldn't work. It would also only happen when it was hot. Had to bring it back 3 times for them to find the issue (under warranty, thankfully), but it was a wire that was being constricted and when it would get hot outside, the wire would expand. Maybe something they could look in to?
      • 1 Year Ago
      They're doing teh right thing, but that doesn't mean heads aren't going to roll, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone is blacklisted in the industry because of it.
      • 1 Year Ago
      The 'not doing a recall' has changed and the actuaries are showing they should do the damn recall.
      IL Driver
      • 3 Months Ago

      I rented an 2014 Buick Encore from Enterprise in IL today. When I was driving down a highway, I accidentally hit the keys in the ignition with my hand (quite lightly, really). The car lost power - including gas, brakes and dash. Thank goodness steering did not stop. I was able to veer to the side until the car came to a rolling stop. I don't believe this newest model is involved in the recall - but this happened to me with no question. They are still using this same ignition device it seems.

      • 1 Year Ago
      How Convenient. GM knows about this problem for YEARS. Most of these cars will be in the junk yard by the time GM "recalls" them.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Don`t hang 4 pounds of junk on your key ring. You won`t have to worry about it. By the way, how`s the weather in Tokyo?
          • 1 Year Ago
          I have to agree... I remember Popular Mechanics saying this years ago. Nothing more than two keys.
          • 1 Year Ago
          How's the weather in detroit?
          • 1 Year Ago
          Yes, remove the unecessary weight.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 1 Year Ago
      There will be a Congressional hearing on this right? You know like what happened with Toyota.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bankruptcy in 3,2,1...
      • 1 Year Ago
      In that link norm 32, it states "On February 8, 2011, the NHTSA, in collaboration with NASA, released its findings into the investigation on the Toyota drive-by-wire throttle system. After a 10-month search, NASA and NHTSA scientists found no electronic defect in Toyota vehicles.[28] Driver error or pedal misapplication was found responsible for most of the incidents. Toyota got sued over and over for owners mistakes. Sure hope the same thing will happen to GM
        • 1 Year Ago
        Scott62, NASA wasn't given all the lines of code and used a different measuring system to review it. There are other problems with Toyota car as the recalls continue.
        • 1 Year Ago
        The final investigation found the causes to be faulty floormats, sticky accelerator pedal and operator error. It was due to just operator error. If it was just due to operator error, the same percentage of fatalities should have been seen with the other automakers. NASA only looked into electronic problems, not mechanical.
        Bruce Lee
        • 1 Year Ago
        Steve, the percentage of reported accidents for Toyota was actually lower than for competitors until after the media shitstorm which of course had everyone jumping on the bandwagon and claiming it was their car causing all kinds of stupid nonsense. Remember that idiot who sped along the highway in his prius for an hour to get the attention of the media? The camry had a LOWER rate of reported un intended acceleration than the Fusion or the Chrysler 200 until the media started publishing scare stories.
      • 1 Year Ago
      So the government held stock in GM for years and for years the government knew these cars were defective and the defect had caused deaths. The government sold their stock in GM and a month or two later this recall. Sounds suspicious. I find it almost unimaginable in this day and age that a defect could be know for nearly a decade (almost from the start of manufacturing of the model), causing numerous deaths, but only fixed years ofter the car is no longer being made. That should be criminal!
        • 1 Year Ago
        When program managers' bonuses are tied to program timing and not quality, this kind of crap is what you get. BS like this was a huge part of the reason why I left GM. They still haven't truly fixed the Cruze engine compartment fire issue on MT models. Gave everyone a nice heat shield placebo fix that cost pennies compared to what repairing the real root cause would cost. WTF happened with the most recent Malibu? So sad. I was a 5th generation employee on both side of my family from the Flint, MI area. So sad to see what GM has become. Just couldn't do it anymore...
      • 1 Year Ago
      Trust big business to immediately do the right thing, a few years later after people have died needlessly. Capitalist morality.
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