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Patrick Austin
Patrick Austin
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Latest GM Recall Adds 8.4 Million Vehicles To Already High Tally

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The New York Times recently announced the shocking news out of GM that the automaker would recall 8.4 million cars and trucks for a wide array of troubles. General Motors revealed the massive global recall after it says it is taking a new approach to tackling safety issues and is attempting to act early rather than wait until problems become more serious.

Though some have been impressed by GM’s decision to recall cars without first battling with federal safety regulators, others say the car company’s huge number of recalled vehicles will undermine it’s reputation for quality. Specifically, GM has recalled 29 million vehicles worldwide so far this year, a number that is without precedent in the auto industry.

Experts say that the majority of the GM recalls this year are linked to a deadly defect that was discovered in the Chevy Cobalt. Among the millions of vehicles recalled this week, 8.2 million of them are linked to faulty ignition systems that can cause the cars and trucks to lose power without warning, the same problem that impacted millions of Cobalt’s, Camaro’s and other midsized vehicles.

Of the most recent recalls, GM says the affected vehicles include Chevy Malibu’s made between 1997 and 2005, Oldsmobile’s, Pontiac Grand Ams and Grand Prixs, Chevy Impalas and Monte Carlos built between 2000 and 2005 and Cadillac CTS made between 2003 and 2014. GM says that three people have died in these vehicles, but could not say with certainty whether the deaths were tied to the potential defect.

The ignition-switch issue has so far been linked to 13 deaths and more than 50 accidents. An internal investigation has since revealed years of lax auto safety practices at the car company which contributed to not only the development of the problem, but the fact that the defect went unrepaired for more than a decade. So far, the investigation has resulted in the firing of 15 employees at GM and $35 million in penalties for GM’s failure to report the issue in a timely manner.

Another consequence of GM’s millions of recalls is that other automakers are being forced to seriously examine their own products for similar issues. The same day that GM announced it’s 8.4-million vehicle recall; Chrysler issued a statement saying that it too would be recalling vehicles, a much smaller 700,000. The Chrysler recall impacts SUVs and minivans made between 2007 and 2009 and concerns a similar problem that might cause the ignition key to twist and turn off the engine without warning.

Federal safety regulators announced early last month that they would begin reviewing safety records for all the major car manufacturers to check for other reports of ignition-switch trouble. Given the number of deaths linked to the GM defect, this kind of proactive approach is appreciated and could save innocent lives.