GM Adds 971,000 Vehicles To Ignition Recall, Confirms 13th Death Tied To Defect

Not a good way to end the week for General Motors, which not only added 971,000 vehicles to the ignition-related recall that had already been issued for 1.6 million cars, it also confirmed that the defect is indeed tied to 13 deaths.

While the previous recall had stopped with model-year 2007 vehicles, the additional recall affects 2008-10 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2008-11 Chevrolet HHRs, 2008-10 Pontiac Solstices, 2008-10 Pontiac G5s and 2008-10 Saturn Sky vehicles.

The concern is that some of these newer vehicles may have been repaired using the same defective ignition switches that were used in the older cars. GM believes that only about 5,000 of the 971,000 cars will actually need an update, but says it is adding these cars out of caution.

Initial reports about the GM recall had tied the defect — in which the ignition switch can turn back into the “off” position unexpectedly, making vehicles difficult to control or stop, and deactivates the air bags — to 13 deaths, but GM would only confirm a dozen.

Detroit News reports that Transport Canada had been investigating the June 2013 incident involving the crash of a 2007 Cobalt in Quebec, but that GM confirmed on Friday that a failure of the ignition was indeed involved in the fatal incident.

On April 4, a federal judge in Texas will hear arguments from GM and plaintiffs regarding an attempt to compel the carmaker to tell owners of recalled vehicles to not drive their cars until they have been fixed.

GM maintains that the cars are safe to drive, but has advised owners to only not have a keyring attached to their vehicles’ keys. It’s believed that having a heavy keychain or having the car key attached on a ring with several other keys can trigger the ignition defect.

This recall expansion comes the day after GM directed its dealers to stop selling their current inventories of Chevy Cruze vehicles with 1.4-liter turbo engines. The carmaker has yet to make public the reason for this move, but stop-sale orders are sometimes given in advance of safety recalls.