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GM's recall notice may be too late for some

GM is set to recall more than 700,000 Chevy Cobalts and Pontiac G5s sold in the U.S. and Canada between 2005 and 2007, due to potential problems with each car’s ignition switch. The cars could potentially shut down (unexpectedly) if the key in the respective ignition comes out if it is weighed down by a heavy key ring. The problem could shut down the car’s engine, along with the airbags and the car’s anti-lock braking systems.

 While both cars have since been discontinued, they still remain on the market through used car outlets. In an announcement last week, GM indicated that it knew of at least six people who have been killed in crashes linked to the defect. The recall is ostensibly geared towards preventing further casualties. 

Nevertheless, a new report indicates that GM knew about the defect as early as 2005 (when the cars were first sold) and failed to advise dealers of the potential danger stemming from the defect, even though there was a remedy available to fix the problem. A recent USA Today report says that a technical service bulletin issued by GM advised dealers to install a snap-on key cover if owners complained about the problem with the ignition switch, but the bulletin apparently did not mention the dangers that could come about, or require dealers to install the cover before cars were sold.

This information could become critical for future lawsuits, as manufacturers have a duty to correct defects that could put consumers at risk.

Source: USA Today.com “Lawsuit: GM knew of Cobalt ignition problem,” James R. Healey and Fred Meier, Feb. 19, 2014

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