adds 284,000 older cars as number of U.S. recalls this
year hits 29
Send a link to a friend
[May 22, 2014]
By Ben Klayman and
(Reuters) - General Motors Co is recalling more than
284,000 older Chevrolet small cars in the United States
and other markets because of a potential fire hazard,
bringing U.S. recalls at the automaker this year to 29
and a record number of vehicles.
The two recalls are the latest announced by GM, the largest U.S.
automaker. The recall with the highest profile was of cars with
defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths. The
Detroit company has been criticized by safety advocates and fined by
U.S. safety regulators for its delayed response in catching the
A day after recalling 2.6 million vehicles globally, most of them in
the United States, GM is recalling 284,913 Chevrolet Aveo and Optra
cars in the United States and other markets from model years 2004 to
2008. The problem with the cars stems from a faulty part in their
daytime running lights that could overheat and cause a fire,
according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA).
GM said it was aware of some fires related to the problem but did
not say how many. It said there were no reports of injuries or
Meanwhile, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra met on Wednesday with
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who chairs a Senate
panel investigating GM's ignition switch recall, as well as other
Democratic lawmakers including Senator Charles Schumer of New York,
Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Rep. Diana DeGette of
Colorado and Rep. John Dingell of Michigan.
McCaskill spokesman Andy Newbold said Barra gave the senator an
update on GM's progress on its internal investigation, which the
company expects to complete within two weeks. He added that the
senator still intends to hold a follow-up hearing after GM's
internal probe is complete.
GM also said North American general counsel Lucy Clark Dougherty is
now advising global vehicle safety chief Jeff Boyer on legal issues
in a move to speed up the process around recalls. But the company
downplayed speculation about a larger overhaul of its legal
department and said general counsel Michael Millikin has been asked
to remain in his position.
Last week, GM recalled almost 3 million vehicles globally and was
fined a record $35 million by NHTSA. It also faces probes by the
U.S. Department of Justice, Congress, the Securities and Exchange
Commission and several states for its handling of the faulty
ignition switch, which engineers first discovered in 2001. GM has
been criticized for not recalling the vehicles affected by the bad
ignition switch before this year.
Wednesday's two recalls bring the number of vehicles affected by its
recalls this year to almost 13.8 million in the United States. That
tops the previous full-year high of 10.7 million vehicles that the
company recalled in the U.S. market in 2004. It pushes the number of
vehicles that GM has recalled globally this year to more than 15.8
[to top of second column]
GM took a $1.3 billion charge in the first quarter for recall-repair
costs and said Tuesday that it expects to take another $400 million
charge in the second quarter for the same reason.
Since the recall began in February, GM has been hit with more than
70 lawsuits from customers who say their cars lost value because of
the ignition defect, according to court documents.
Two U.S. senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would
require federal judges to consider the public's interest before
granting requests to seal court records in cases that have an impact
on public health and safety.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Republican
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina offered the bill in
response to the GM ignition switch recall. GM has reached
confidential settlements in several lawsuits brought by families of
victims of accidents that have been linked to the ignition defect.
"GM's recent legal maneuvering reaching secret settlements shows why
this legislation is essential," Blumenthal said. "This legislation
would have enabled people to be aware of the threats to safety posed
by the faulty ignition switches, and deaths could have been
(Additional reporting by Jessica Dye in New York; Editing by Chizu
Nomiyama, Peter Galloway and Meredith Mazzilli)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.