General Motors announced last Friday it is recalling 824,000 more cars that might have faulty ignition switches. GM recalls began with 1.6 million cars in February because of the same problem. The recall affected Chevrolet Cobalt, HHR, Pontiac G5, Solstice and Saturn Ion and Sky vehicles sold in the U.S. between 2008 and 2011.
“We are taking no chances with safety,” said GM CEO Mary Barra in a statement. “Trying to locate several thousand switches in a population of 2.2 million vehicles and distributed to thousands of retailers isn’t practical. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling the rest of the model years.” GM states it is not aware of any reports of fatalities involving vehicles in this group where a front impact occurred, front-seat air bags failed to deploy and the ignition was in the “accessory” or off position.
The problem with the ignition switch can cause car engines to stall and could disable power steering, brakes, seatbelts and airbags. Tuesday this week GM CEO Mary Barra is scheduled to address lawmakers to answer questions about the GM recalls. GM shares, which have sunk following the recall, closed Friday at $34.73, up 0.6 percent on the day, and they remained largely flat in after-hours trading.
This makes a tough start to the year for the automaker, which last year led the country in clean energy patents and was the largest user of solar power in the automotive industry. Moving forward, its focus is on developing environmentally friendly electric and hybrid vehicles.