GM Failing Recall Test?

2014 Chevrolet Impala

Multiple-choice question:

When there’s a safety problem with a car, it’s best to fix it:

A) As cheaply and easily as possible.

B) As thoroughly as possible to make sure the faulty part performs as required.

The answer will be revealed later in this blog.

First, keep in mind that General Motors has had an extraordinarily tough year as it has dealt with the ramifications of waiting more than a decade to recall cars affected by an ignition-switch problem. That problem has proven fatal in a number of instances and is still in the process of being fixed.

This week GM announced another seemingly unrelated recall for an ignition problem.

The new recall affects cars from model years 2000 through 2014. The ignition switch can move out of the run position, turning off power steering and power braking while the car is being driven. Extra weight on the key chain can jostle the ignition when the vehicle strikes something in the road like a pothole.

That brings the total number of cars recalled this year by GM to more than 20 million. For some perspective, that’s far more than it has sold this year.

Here’s what I find interesting: GM is picking answer A above, but the correct answer is B. Rather than fixing the faulty ignition on the most recent batch of recalled vehicles, the company is going for the quick and easy fix of making the keyhole on the key smaller. Naturally, when an ignition turns off during driving, it’s the driver’s fault for having too many keys. GM’s solution is to limit the number of keys its customers carry rather than actually fixing the problem. Drivers can’t overload their key chains if they don’t have a big enough space to hang all their stuff, right?

That’s definitely a far less expensive solution than repairing or replacing the ignition switch, but it sure seems cheap. That’s like fixing an engine problem by asking customers not to step on the gas.

Do these GM recalls make you less likely to purchase a used GM vehicle?


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