GM Recall Poses a Serious Safety Issue

2008 Saturn Sky

Sometimes topics in the auto world get pretty serious.

We like to have some fun and make light of certain situations, but there are times when humor is off the table. The fact is, building cars is a dangerous business. A lot can go wrong when putting together the pieces of these metal capsules that hurl us down traffic-filled roads at upwards of 70 miles per hour.

Usually, things go according to plan, and our vehicles safely transport our families and us for many years. When things go wrong, though, lives can be lost. Even worse is when an automaker knows about a problem, but fails to act in time to save lives.

Back in 2004, according to a court deposition, a General Motors engineer experienced a problem with the ignition switch turning off during a test drive of a 2005 model. At the time, GM determined the problem was not a safety issue and continued production.

Fast-forward a few years, and the issue has resurfaced to the point of tragedy. General Motors announced Tuesday that it is expanding a recall of certain cars due to that ignition problem and has acknowledged 13 deaths so far as a direct result of the fault.

GM says the ignition on the vehicles recalled can accidentally switch out of the “run” position while the car is being driven. When that happens, the engine shuts off, and the power brakes, power steering and airbags are not functional.

It doesn’t do any good to bad-mouth GM at this point, as some media outlets and blogs have done. We’ll let the lawyers sort this one out and hope the company fixes this problem as quickly as possible and learns ways to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The recall affects 1.37 million vehicles built between 2003 and 2007. Models affected are the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, Saturn ION, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. Owners are being notified, and new ignition switches will be installed at no charge.

If you own one of these vehicles, or are considering the purchase of one, please make sure the fix is performed as soon as possible.


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