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by Tim Beissmann

General Motors has expanded its faulty ignition switch recall by almost one million vehicles, taking the total number of affected cars to 2.6 million around the world.

The expansion announcement follows GM’s original February recall that targeted 1.6 million Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR, Pontiac G5 and Solstice, and Saturn Ion and Sky vehicles built between 2003 and 2007.

GM is now recalling all model years of the six affected vehicles after acknowledging that faulty switches may have been used to repair other examples of the cars. The expanded recall includes another 824,000 vehicles in the US and 147,000 in other markets. None of the vehicles affected by the recall were sold in Australia.

GM says about 95,000 faulty switches were sold to dealers and aftermarket wholesalers, of which about 90,000 were used to repair older vehicles that were repaired before they were recalled last month.

GM CEO Mary Barra conceded the expanded recall action was necessary as it was not feasible to track down all the parts fitted by dealers and repairer.

“We are taking no chances with safety,” Barra said. “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.

“We are going to provide our customers with the peace of mind they deserve and expect by getting the new switches into all the vehicles.”

As with the original recall, the faulty ignition switches may unintentionally move from the ‘on’ position to ‘accessory’ or ‘off’, leading to a loss of power. Faulty ignition switches may also cause the airbags to not deploy during a crash, increasing the potential for occupant injury. GM admits 12 deaths and 31 crashes can be linked to vehicles equipped with the faulty switches.

Chevrolet-Cruze

Meanwhile, GM has recalled another 662,000 vehicles in the US over two separate issues. The first affects almost half a million large pick-ups and SUVs, and the second 172,000 2013-2014 Chevrolet Cruze sedans.

Affected Cruze models equipped with the turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine may be fitted with a defective right front axle half shaft that can fracture and separate without warning during normal driving. GM explains if this occurs while driving the vehicle would lose power to the wheels and coast to a stop, though steering and braking control would be maintained.

A Holden spokesman said the local division was currently conducting an investigation into what, if any, the US recall would have on Australian-made Holden Cruze vehicles and local customers.

“We are aware that GM North America has launched a recall of certain Chevrolet Cruze vehicles. We are working closely with them and assessing the impact on Holden vehicles,” he said.

“Safety is our first priority and we will contact our customers directly if any action is required once the local investigation is finalised.”




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