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Products Liability

GM Recalls 1.6 Million Cars for Deadly Defect

March 24, 2014 | Michael Barasch

The weight of a key ring on certain GM models causes the car to shift from run to accessory. This kills the engine — and possibly killed at least 13 people. 

In 2006, General Motors (GM) produced a technical bulletin describing a problem with heavy key chains and the inadvertent shutdown of the car engine during use. The bulletin described the problem in six GM model cars. 

In mid-February, 2014, GM issued a recall on two of the models described in the bulletin. By late February, GM included additional vehicles, bringing the approximate number of defective cars recalled to 1.6 million. 

There is no reference on the GM website home page of the catastrophic consequences of the failure of the company to alert car owners and recall the vehicles. 

Within the website, there is a Media Alert that refers to the delay in notifying consumers of the danger. GM North America President Alan Batey states “[t]he chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been.” 

Points about the defective ignition switch include: 

  • Rough road condition or a heavy key chain can affect the ignition switch torque performance.
  • When the ignition switch fails, the electrical system is affected, cutting off safety systems like airbags.
  • On its website, GM refers to 13 fatalities in 31 collisions where air-bags did not deploy. 

Consumers affected by the recall should see their dealer for repairs. Consumers who were injured, or lost a loved one, due to the known defect in these cars should speak with a knowledgeable injury attorney in New York.

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