General Motors informed the NHTSA today that it is adding ignition lock cylinders to its safety recall of 2.2 million older model cars in the United States. The cylinders can allow removal of the ignition key while the engine is running, leading to a possible rollaway, crash and occupant or pedestrian injuries.
As always, owners of manual transmission vehicles should be sure the ignition is in the “Off” position and set to reverse gear with the parking brake set before removing the key. Owners of vehicles with automatic transmission should be sure the vehicle is in “Park” before removing the key.
GM is aware of several hundred complaints of keys coming out of ignitions. Searches of GM and government databases found one rollaway in a parking lot that resulted in a crash and one injury claim. The same searches turned up no fatalities.
GM has decided to replace the ignition lock cylinders and cut and, if necessary, reprogram new keys.
The cars covered are model years:
2003-2007 Saturn Ion
2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
2007-2010 Pontiac G5
2007-2010 Saturn Sky
2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
All of these cars were recalled in recent weeks for ignition switches that may fail to meet GM’s torque specification. The ignition switch may unintentionally move from the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” position with a corresponding reduction or loss of power. This risk may be increased if the key ring is carrying added weight or if the vehicle goes off the road or experiences some other jarring event. The timing of the key movement out of the “run” position, relative to the activation of the sensing algorithm of the crash event, may result in the airbags not deploying, increasing the potential for occupant injury in certain kinds of crashes.
Until recall repairs are made, it is very important that customers remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the vehicle key. If there is a key fob, it also should be removed from the key ring.
GM also announced Thursday that the company expects to take a charge of approximately $1.3 billion in the first quarter, primarily for the cost of recall-related repairs announced in the 2014 calendar year to date and related courtesy transportation. This amount includes the $750 million charge previously announced on March 31.
On a preliminary basis, despite the $1.3 billion recall charge, GM currently expects to report solid core operating performance in the first quarter financial results.