General Motors has had a pretty rough decade since its federal-government bailout following the economic crash of 2008-09. Are there those who think that these problems are purely coincidental?
There is coincidence, and then there is causation. We’ll let you decide.
Over the last couple of years especially, General Motors has had problems producing vehicles that have no functional issues that cause injuries or deaths. We’ll go into a little detail about a couple large recent vehicle recalls over prominent defects.
This is perhaps the most infamous major recall for GM over the last four years. The recall occurred in 2014, but it involved nearly 30 million vehicles over several model years – even models that were put out six or more years earlier. And after a Congressional investigation, it was found that the company may have known about the ignition-switch problems as far as back 2003 or 2004, but did nothing about them until 2006, and then didn’t recall any vehicles until eight years later.
The defective ignition switch caused problems, because the defect would cause the ignition switch to randomly switch from “on” to “off” while the vehicle was in motion. This shut off the engine and and the steering, which ultimately led to more than 400 people being killed or injured.
Earlier this year, GM announced that it will recall about 800,000 trucks from the 2014 model year (yes, trucks that hit the market four years ago) due to a power steering malfunction.
These turcks had a problem with the electronic power-steering system, where it would short-circuit in low-speed turning, shutting off and disabling the system. The recall focuses on Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 trucks.
In the middle of 2016, GM followed up on a massive airbag recall by airbag manufacturer Takata, announcing that due to defects involving the airbag system, many cars in the GM lineup for the 2007 through 2011 model years would be affected, as most of them used Takata airbags. However, due to the immense volume of vehicles and the low supply of replacement parts to correct the problem, the recall has been spread out over several years and prioritized according to risk and region of the country.
While the airbags themselves had some issues involving the use of ammonium nitrate as an inflating agent with the exclusion of a drying agent (desiccant), there wre some reports that the airbag system installed in some models expelled shrapnel as they were being deployed, which signified a major engineering defect. That shrapnel, fortunately, has not caused any known significant injuries.
Your Rights as a Consumer
If you have a vehicle with a defect of some kind, it is important to report it as quickly as possible to the carmaker as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and to have a quality attorney available to investigate the issue and protect your rights should this defect turn into a recall or a possible class-action lawsuit if there is a lack of action by the carmaker.