GM Recalls Nearly 3 Million Cars, Fined Historic $35 Million

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A day after recalling millions of vehicles, General Motors has been hit the maximum fine possible for failure to report safety issues in the Chevrolet ...

General Motors announced on Thursday, May 15 the recall of approximately 2.7 million vehicles. The recalls include 111,889 Chevrolet Corvettes for loss of low-beam head lamps; 2,440,524 previous generation passenger cars for tail-lamp malfunctions; 140,067 model year 2014 Chevy Malibus for hydraulic brake booster malfunctions; 19,225 Cadillac CTS cars from model years 2013 and 2014 for defective windshield wipers; and 477 full-size trucks from model years 2014 and 2015 for a tie-rod defect that can cause the vehicles to crash.

The affected Malibu, Malibu Maxx, Pontiac G6, and Saturn Auras models in the largest recall all share a defect in the brake lamp wiring harness which can allow corrosion to develop in the body control module. Over time, that corrosion can cause brake lamps to fail to light when brakes are applied or to illuminate when they are not engages, and can even disable cruise control, traction control, electronic stability, and panic braking assist operation.

“Customer safety is at the heart of how GM designs and produces vehicles, and these announcements are examples of two ways we are putting that into practice,” said Jeff Boyer, GM’s VP of Global Vehicle Safety.

“We have redoubled our efforts to expedite and resolve current reviews in process and also have identified and analyzed recent vehicle issues which require action,” he added. “These are examples of our focus to surface issues quickly and promptly take necessary actions in the best interest of our customers.”

Despite the consumer-friendly message put forward by GM, however, the Unites States Department of Transportation has handed the company a historic penalty for failing to respond to document demands during a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation of safety issues relating to the Chevrolet Cobalt’s failure to properly deploy airbags. General Motors will pay the maximum $35 million fine for its inaction, and will also submit to unprecedented oversight requirements.

“Safety is our top priority, and today’s announcement puts all manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable if they fail to quickly report and address safety-related defects,” said US Transportation Secretary Foxx.

As part of the oversight, GM has agreed to grant the NHTSA unrestricted access to it internal investigation of the Cobalt recall, to ensure that employees report safety concerns to management, and to hasten the process through which GM decides whether to recall vehicles.

“No excuse, process, or organizational structure will be allowed to stand in the way of any company meeting their obligation to quickly find and fix safety issues in a vehicle,” said David Friedman NHTSA Acting Administrator. “It’s critical to the safety of the driving public that manufacturers promptly report and remedy safety-related defects that have the potential to lead to deaths or injuries on our nation’s highways.”

[Source: GM, DoT]

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