General Motors said on Monday that it will recall 3.16 million midsize and large cars to modify their ignition keys to prevent the problem that triggered a recall of 2.19 million U.S. small cars in February and March.
The defect is linked to 13 deaths and 54 crashes in the previously recalled cars. In the Monday recall, GM says it knows of eight crashes and six injuries, but no deaths.
The switches in the latest action were approved by Ray DeGiorgio, the same now-fired GM engineer who oversaw the switches in the earlier, small-car recall, GM said.
GM forecast that it now will have to take a $700 million charge against second-quarter earnings to pay for the recalls, up from the $400 million it forecast earlier this month.
The recall of the 2000 to 2014 models in the U.S. is because if the key is carrying extra weight and is jarred, the ignition switch might move out of the "run" position, shutting off the engine and disabling the airbags.
That's the same problem involved in the earlier small-car recall.
In this case, though, GM doesn't plan to replace the entire ignition switch. Instead, it will use an insert that fills a slot on the head of the key and leaves only a small hole for a key ring.
GM says that reduces the leverage on the key, making it unlikely to rotate out of "run" if the car hits a pothole or railroad tracks too fast or otherwise has a "jarring road event."
GM urged owners to remove everything from the key until they get the repair.
Separately, GM announced five other smaller recalls for various problems in a total of 165,770 U.S. vehicles.
That brings GM recalls to 44 this year for 17.73 million U.S. vehicles. Including those in Mexico, Canada and other countries, the total is 20 million vehicles.
GM said the new recall "follows a review of ignition issues following the recall in February of 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars" worldwide.
The latest switch defect surfaces at an inopportune time.
GM CEO Mary Barra is scheduled to testify Wednesday at a House subcommittee about the initial switch defect. Until the latest recall, she could have taken the position that the problem has been identified and is being fixed, and that the people at fault don't work at GM now.
"This latest recall raises even more questions about just how pervasive safety problems are at GM. This is not just a Cobalt problem," Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a statement on Monday.
"Has the company identified all potential problems? And has GM taken all necessary actions to fix the issues? We look to get answers directly from GM CEO Mary Barra and internal investigator Anton Valukas on Wednesday when they appear before the committee," Upton said.
The Valukas report catalogs a "pattern of incompetence" within GM. It prompted Barra to terminate 15 GM lawyers and engineers, including DeGiorgio. Barra called the report "brutally tough and deeply troubling."
The total in the Monday recall grows to 3.36 million when Canada, Mexico and export cars are included. Only one model is still in production, the last-generation Chevrolet Impala, which is sold to daily rental fleets as the Impala Limited.
The recalled cars are:
- Buick Lacrosse — 2005-2009
- Chevrolet Impala — 2006-2014
- Cadillac Deville — 2000–2005
- Cadillac DTS — 2004–2011
- Buick Lucerne — 2006–2011
- Buick Regal LS and GS — 2004–2005
- Chevy Monte Carlo — 2006–2008
The five smaller recalls also announced Monday are:
- 68,887 2013-14 Cadillac ATS and 21,863 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans. The gearshift cable might not be properly connected to a bracket, and the driver might not be able to shift into or out of gear.
- 57,192 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD and 2015 GMC Sierra 2500/3500 GMC Sierra HD to inspect for proper attachment of power-steering hose clamps. If the vehicle is driven with the clamp unattached, the truck suddenly could lose power-assist to the steering and brakes, and be harder to control. GM knows of no crashes or injuries from the condition.
- 16,932 model-year 2011 Cadillac CTS sedans with all-wheel drive. A gasket leak can cause the driveshaft to come loose and hit the car's floor, triggering head-protection airbags because sensors think the car is rolling over. GM says 15 unintended airbag deployments have been reported, "but injury data is unclear."
- 712 model-year 2014 Chevrolet Corvettes with optional Competition Sport Seats, because seat-mounted side airbags can inflate improperly, injuring unbelted children riding in the seat. Dealers will install a newly designed airbag. GM says it knows of no crashes or injuries, but owners should prohibit small children from riding in the seat.
- 184 model-year 2014-15 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups with vinyl floors and accessory all-weather floor mats purchased new with the vehicle. The mats can slip under the driver's feet because the vinyl floors have no attachments to secure them in place. GM dealers will refund the price of the mats. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries related to the mats.