General Motors Orders 30th Recall of the Year (and it’s only May)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Faulty ignition switch in this GM car resulted in the death of a 16-year-old (photo: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Quality control is in need of a tune-up, if not complete overhaul, at General Motors, which has announced 30 recalls of its vehicles so far this year.


The latest recall came on May 23, when GM officials said 500 redesigned full-size pickups and SUVs (model years 2014 and 2015) need to be brought in to fix a flaw in the airbag system.


The week of May 19 alone was a busy one for GM, which issued seven recalls during that span. In total, the carmaker has recalled 13.79 million vehicles in the U.S. since January 1.


It also revealed last week that it would pay $35 million in federal fines for delaying the recall of 2.6 million cars for faulty ignition switches, which safety officials say caused at least 13 deaths. The government claims that GM knew about the problem for nearly a decade before finally issuing recall notices.


The penalty was said to be the largest ever stemming from a government investigation of recall-related violations. Nonetheless, a number of lawmakers have complained that the penalty is too light to serve as a deterrent to other automakers.


In the wake of all the recalls, GM decided to shake up its internal operations with respect to vehicle safety issues by putting together a new team of executives to handle recall decisions. That team includes 55 product investigators whose work includes a reexamination of existing defect data, as well as scanning social media to pick up on pertinent GM-related issues being discussed by the public.


The recall announcements may continue through mid-summer, according to a source at GM.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

GM Recalls 500 New Pickups, SUVs over Airbags (by Fred Meier, USA Today)

GM Recalls 2.4 Million More Vehicles (CBS News)

13 Deaths, Untold Heartache, From G.M. Defect (by Rebecca Ruiz, Danielle Ivory and Hilary Stout, New York Times)

National Traffic Safety Administration Failed to Protect Americans from Lethal G.M. Ignition Switch (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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