GM Received Dozens Of Customer Warnings About Faulty Ignition Switches

Things are going from bad to worse for General Motors. First, it recalled nearly 800,000 vehicles because the ignition switches could turn off for no reason. Then it was revealed that the company was alerted to this problem by a NHTSA investigator back in 2007, and then the recall was expanded to 1.37 million cars, with GM saying that the defect may be tied to 13 deaths. New revelations show that GM had received dozens of complaints from vehicle owners about the faulty ignition switches, but still chose to not issue a recall until 2014.

In deposition documents [PDF] obtained by The Detroit News, GM employees discuss the many ignition-related complaints submitted by owners of Chevy Cobalt and Saturn Ion vehicles.

“Customer engine has already stalled once in a snowstorm making her steering column lock up and vehicle spun out of control,” reads one report involving a 2005 Cobalt that only had 1,500 miles on it at the time.

The driver of that car was five months pregnant at the time and told the dealership that she no longer felt secure driving a Cobalt.

Another complaint about a 2005 Cobalt that only had 3,700 miles on it at the time states that the vehicle had been given to the owner’s 19-year-old son as a gift, but the car “started stalling every day.”

The dealer inspected the car and determined the computer inside the Cobalt had “died,” and subsequently replaced the car with a new Cobalt, which also started showing the same problems as the first one.

The son was driving this second Cobalt home from work one evening. As he exited the highway at around 70 mph, he reported that the vehicle stalled out, locked up and went into a ditch. Luckily, he was not seriously injured.

Then there’s the grandmother whose Cobalt died after only 600 miles.

“This woman is scared to death of this vehicle,” wrote the service manager at the dealership. “She is afraid one day she is going to be riding around with [her grandchildren] and kill them. She has the fear of God in her about this car.”

These are just a few of the many instances cited in a deposition from 2013 for a lawsuit involving a driver who died in a 2009 accident involving a 2005 Cobalt.

Rather than issue a recall, GM bought back more than a dozen Cobalts from customers.

Federal authorities have put the GM recall under the microscope after learning that the car maker failed to include a Feb. 2005 technical service bulletin (about Cobalt ignition switches) in the timeline for last month’s massive recall.

Among the major concerns with the ignition defect is that the vehicles’ airbags may not deploy if a stalled car is involved in a collision.

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