GM vehicle owners waiting on repairs - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

GM vehicle owners waiting on repairs

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(04/10/14) - General Motors needs to fix yet another part tied to the ignition switch defect in 2.6 million small cars.

The automaker also plans to replace the ignition lock cylinders on those cars. Right now, drivers can remove the key while the engine is still running, which could lead to a rollaway or crash.

The recall affects the Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR, Saturn Ion and Sky, and Pontiac Solstice and G5. All the vehicles are from model years between 2003 and 2011.

This week, a fix for the main ignition switch problem was supposed to be in the hands of dealers, across the country, including here in Mid-Michigan. However, it's reported only 47,000 replacement parts went out. Many dealers don't know when they'll get them or how many parts they'll get.

Ron Hughey bought a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, to get his teenage daughter out of a gas guzzler and into something a little more fuel efficient. He received a letter from GM a few weeks ago.

The Cobalt his daughter drives daily to and from school is part of that massive recall of more than 2 million GM cars. GM says if the ignition switch is bumped, the vehicle could shut off while on the road - disabling power steering, brakes and even airbags.

It's the same defect GM says may have lead to at least 13 deaths - and left millions of drivers and their families worried.

General Motors and its CEO have been in the hot seat, not only with the public, but with the federal government. GM says it learned of problems with the ignition switch nearly 10 years ago, but didn't start recalling cars until February.

"It took too long for this to come to the attention, and do the recall. We've admitted that, and we've also apologized," said Mary Barra. "It is tragic that there have been lives lost, and lives impacted from this event."

U of M Flint Professor Marcus Paroske, has been watching the ignition switch investigation play out. He says while customers are upset, GM has to be very conscious of its actions.

"They want more than just a letter. They want real contrition from the company," Paroske said. "The problem is, that may be an admission of guilt. So, you see the position that Mary Barra is in wanting to show sympathy, but also not get in trouble with the law."

But what about General Motors image in light of this major recall? Can the automaker drive out of this crisis?

"In the short term, it's a real hit to GM's image in particular because the company had been doing so well coming out of bankruptcy and moving forward," Paroske said. "In the long term, if GM manages this properly, they'll probably get over it. Toyota got over it. British Petroleum got over it. Ford got over it. GM could do it, too, they just need the right strategy going forward," he said.

For some customers, it may be too late. Tom Colvin said his 2006 Chevy HHR shutdown shortly after driving over railroad tracks. He got a recall notice, and like so many, he's waiting on a call from his local dealer that a fix for his ignition is in.

On Thursday, the automaker announced it suspended two engineers, Ray DeGiorgio and Gary Altman, with pay for their role in the failure to recall vehicles with ignition switch problems.

GM says going forward, it is customer focus, and is working to correct any future problems with its vehicles.

The automaker set a timeline of finishing all the ignition repairs by October.

Click here to see the full list of vehicles bring recalled, and find out what how the fix will take place.

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