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General Motors is recalling roughly 778,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles in North America, after reports of at least 22 accidents and six deaths that may have been caused by a problem with the ignition switch torque that could prevent the airbags from deploying when impacted.
The Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 recall was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on February 7, after discovering that the ignition switch torque performance may not be to manufacturer specification.
The ignition switch on the affected vehicles may potentially turn the vehicle off during use if the torque of the ignition switch is not to specification. These events may happen if added weight is applied to a key ring or if the vehicle experience some sort of impact from a crash or a bumpy road. When the ignition switch is turned out of the “run” position it will deactivate the airbags posing a serious hazard to drivers and passengers in the case of an auto accident.
A General Motors spokesman, Alan Adler, announced that a particular series of events, such as hitting a pothole and bumping the ignition switch, may cause the switch to turn to a different setting, deactivating the airbags.
The recall includes 140,978 Chevrolet Cobalt vehicles from the 2005 model year, which were manufactured from August 3, 2004 through June 17, 2005, roughly 229,578 Chevrolet Cobalt vehicles from the 2006 model year, which were manufactured from April 5, 2005 through June 9, 2006, roughly 215,667 Chevrolet Cobalt vehicles from the 2007 model year, which were manufactured from April 20, 2006 through August 16, 2007, and 32,899 Pontiac G5 vehicles from the 2007 model year, which were manufactured between April 20, 2006 and August 6, 2007. Another 153,000 vehicles were recalled in Canada and 6,100 in Mexico.
The issue involving the ignition switch defect was presented to the Field Performance Evaluation Review Committee on January 31, 2014, where the Executive Field Action Decision Committee concluded a safety recall was necessary.
General Motors has initiated its recall by contacting dealers to provide written notice and warning to owners. Those dates when owners will receive notice have not been announced but GM’s course of action is to have the dealers replace the ignition switch to specification and provide reimbursement to owners for repairs completed on or before ten days after the owner mailing is completed.
Owners are encouraged to remove unnecessary key rings from their vehicles ignition key chain and to avoid rough terrain until the ignition switch is replaced. Owners with questions may contact GM by visiting their website or by contacting the dealer where their vehicle was purchased.