GM recalls 8.45 million cars over ignition flaw, bares compensation fund for victims

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Detroit, MI, United States (4E) – General Motors announced Monday it is recalling 8.45 million cars that have a deadly ignition switch defect and other flaws. It also announced compensation for families of people killed in road crashes caused by defects in some of its cars.

Of the 8.45 million cars being recalled, more than 7.5 million are in the U.S. with 6.8 million of them having unintended ignition key rotation namely 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, the 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrique, the 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero, the 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am, the 2000-05 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, the 2004-08 Pontiac Grand Prix, 2004-06 Cadillac SRX and 2003-14 Cadillac CTS.

Nearly 182,000 recalled cars have possible electrical short in the driver’s door module that could disable the power door lock and window switches and, in rare cases, overheat that module. These cars include 2005-07 Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7x, as well as the 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL.

Another 9,371 cars have underhood fusible link that could melt due to electrical overload resulting in smoke or flames that could damage the electrical center cover and/or the nearby wiring harness conduit. These are 2007-11 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD equipped with an auxiliary battery.

Also being recalled in the U.S. are 2,990 2011-14 Chevrolet Cruze, 2012-14 Chevrolet Sonic, 2013-14 Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore and Verano because the insulation on the engine block may become damaged during very cold conditions.

Lastly, 106 2014 Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS are being recalled because some may not have had a Superhold joint fastener torque to specification.

The unintended ignition key rotation may have caused three deaths, eight injuries and seven crashes in older model full-size sedans, according to GM.

In the Cadillacs, the ignition can slip due to jarring from the road, a bump on the key from the driver’s knee or from the weight of a heavy key chain, said GM spokesman Alan Adler, according to ABC News. In the older model midsize Chevrolets, Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles, only jarring or heavy keys — and not a bump from the driver’s knee — can knock the ignition out of position, he said. The company will fix the flaw by placing inserts on the keys. Pending repair, car owners are advised to remove everything from their key rings.

The latest recall brings to 29 million the total number of recall made by GM this year. The figure is 7 million more than the total number of recalls by all carmakers last year. It is also the latest in a series of recall that started in February, when 2.6 million older small cars were recalled worldwide because of a faulty ignition switch overlooked 10 years ago.

Before announcing the recall, GM lawyer Kenneth R. Feinberg said the company is offering payments to families of people killed or severely injured in accidents caused by the defective ignition switches in the 2.6 million small cars. The compensation is as much as $7.8 million for a 10-year-old paraplegic injured in a crash caused by the defect, Feinberg said during a news conference at the National Press Club.

From $20,000 to $500,000 will be paid to injured victims for their hospitalization.

The company will start accepting claims on Aug. 1 and promised to release the compensation within 90 days.

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