Spread across six campaigns and covering model-year vehicles from 1997 to 2014, the latest crop of recalls, which takes GM's 2014 recall tally to 54 campaigns and around 28.9 million cars, includes some vehicles suspected of being linked to seven collisions, eight injuries and three deaths.
Coming two weeks after GM's 2014 North American recalled vehicle count topped 20 million vehicles since January 13, the latest recall action is highlighted by the recall of 7.6 million full-size sedans across seven models for 'inadvertent ignition key rotation'.
Signifying the US car maker's largest single recall for 2014, the recall spans 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero, 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am, 2004-08 Pontiac Grand Prix, and 2000-05 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo models.
Speaking to US industry journal Automotive News, a GM spokesperson said the latest ignition key issue differs from the defective ignition switch problem that resulted in 2.6 million small cars, built between 2003 and 2007, being recalled between February and March this year – a fault the manufacturer itself has linked to 54 collisions and 13 deaths.
Clarifying that the latest key rotation problem "is one of weight on the key" rather than a "system performance” issue, the spokesperson said the torque in the switches “may be slightly out of spec ... but the performance of the system as a whole meets the requirement”.
Addressing the deaths of three people in two collisions – involving recalled 2003 and 2004 Chevrolet Impalas – GM said in a statement: "There is no conclusive evidence that the [inadvertent key rotation] defect condition caused those crashes."
Adding that one incident involved a high-speed impact with a tree and the other an unbelted occupant, the GM spokesperson said that while the vehicles' airbags did not deploy in either collision, "there wasn’t conclusive evidence that the switch was a factor”.
Regardless, GM has stressed to its customers that until ignition recall repairs have been completed, it is "very important" to remove all items from key rings, including any key fob.
The US automotive giant also increased its estimated second-quarter recall-related repair bill by US$500 million, from US$700 million ($740m) to US$1.2 billion ($1.27b).
Taking over the reins of the company from Dan Akerson back in January, GM CEO Mary Barra (pictured above) said in a statement nothing is more important than the safety of customers.
“Our customers deserve more than we delivered in these vehicles," Barra said.
"That has hardened my resolve to set a new industry standard for vehicle safety, quality and excellence.”