About one month following GM’s agreement with the federal government that saw the company pay $900 million to avoid criminal prosecution, it seemed as if GM had turned the corner on its extremely rocky 2014. For those who have not followed the auto defect scandals of the past year, GM’s 2014 was marred by one of the largest defect recalls in history: the ignition switch defect. The ignition defect problem grew to be as pervasive and seemingly ubiquitous in GM vehicles because the company missed numerous chances over the course of a decade or more to correct it.
Aside from GM’s serious safety debacle, the industry was also rocked by revelations of the Takata airbag inflator problem. Like the GM defect, this problem developed over the course of years and became pervasive throughout the company’s product line which is featured in vehicles produced by major manufacturers like Honda, Ford, Chrysler, and Mitsubishi.
Unfortunately, the defect problems from 2014 are lingering into 2015 and are likely to persist into 2016 and beyond. GM announced this week the discovery of two new defects in recent vehicle models. One defect effects the ignition switches in its Silverado and Sierra pickup lines. Another recently announced defect involves the ammonium nitrate inflators used in the side airbags in more than 400 GM vehicles.
Problems With Takata Airbags in 2015 General Motors Vehicles Detailed
GM announced that a number of its 2015 vehicles including cars and SUVs have Takata airbags that are known to deploy with too much force. In some situations, the airbags have deployed with excessive force causing the inflator to disintegrate and spew metal shrapnel throughout the vehicle. In one case, the victim of a Takata airbag was believed to have been the victim of a violent attack due to the nature of the injuries inflicted. In all, eight have been killed and more than 100 have been injured worldwide.
This latest recall affects GM vehicles including:
- 2015 Chevrolet Equinox
- 2015 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2015 Chevy Camaro
- 2015 Buick LaCrosse
- 2015 Cadillac XTS
- 2015 GMC Terrain
However this latest recall, likely, merely scratches the surface. NHTSA has gone on record stating that all Takata-produced inflators using ammonium nitrate are part of the agency’s inquiry. While other batches of the inflators have yet to show the problem, these are the same model of inflator containing the same propellant, and subject to the same phase-change problems due to moisture.
GM Announces New Ignition Switch Problems in 2014 Pickups
GM also announced recalls due to newly discovered problems affecting the ignition switches in a number of its vehicles. In vehicles such as the light-duty version of the 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierras and in the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs. These vehicles are affected by an ignition lock gear with an improperly manufactured outer diameter. The diameter of the ignition lock gear is too large which makes it difficult for the driver to turn the switch. Reportedly, when the interior vehicle temperature is high and is then cooled by the vehicle’s climate control system, this defect can cause the ignition to slip out of gear and into the accessory position. When the ignition switch slips out of gear an array of problems are caused including a loss of power to the vehicle. This loss of power disabled power steering and airbags and makes the driver more likely to lose control of his or her vehicle.
While it is never good news to see a serious defect continue to linger in a product line, there is a silver lining to the discovery of this defect. That is, the defect was discovered through GM’s new “Speak up for Safety” program. Under the program, a GM engineer submitted a report after noticing problems with his own vehicle. GM states that employees are encouraged to speak up when they notice problems and issues. The company claims that this is what happened here and it is a sign that the company is working to improve its safety culture and handling of safety issues.
Injured by a Defectively Manufactured or Designed Vehicle?
If you have suffered a severe, life-altering injury due to a defective vehicle or if a loved one has been wrongfully killed, contact the personal injury lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm. We fight to hold negligent and reckless parties financially accountable for the damage they inflict. To schedule a no-obligation, private legal consultation call (215) 246-9000 today.