General Motors this week issued a sweeping recall that affects more than 1.3 million Chevrolet, Saturn, and Pontiac vehicles. The defect causing the recall involves the sudden loss of electric power steering experience by some drivers of older GM models.
The recall affects all Chevrolet Malibu and Chevrolet Malibu Maxx models from the years 2004 and 2005. Some 2006, 2008, and 2009 Malibu models and 2006 Malibu Maxx models are also affected. Some Chevrolet HHR models from year 2009 and 2010 are covered under the recall, as are some 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt models.
All Saturn ION models from years 2004 to 2007 are affected by the recall, as are all Pontiac G6 2005 models. Some Pontiac G6 models from 2006, 2008, and 2009 are also affected. Some Saturn Aura models from 2008 and 2009 also fall under the recall.
Working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM will replace (for free) the steering columns, power steering motors, and/or the power steering motor control unit of the recalled vehicles. In addition, customers who have already paid for repairs for these parts could receive a reimbursement.
“With these safety recalls and lifetime warranties, we are going after every car that might have this problem, and we are going to make it right,” said Jeff Boyer, VP of Global Vehicle Safety at GM. “We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough.”
According to GM, drivers who lose power steering while driving can still drive their vehicles using manual steering. The company admits, however, that manual steering can take greater effort and increase road risks at low speeds.
The power steering recall comes just as GM CEO Mary Barra has testified this week during a U.S. congressional subcommittee hearing on GM's recent ignition switch recall. Barra apologized to the families affected by the defect and promised to determine why the recall had taken so long to implement.
GM expects this new recall to cost around $450 million. Adding in the estimated $300 million in recalls announced earlier in March and February of this year will round out the $750 million charge that GM expects to take on its first quarter earnings.
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