Valentine’s Day brought little love for auto manufacturer General Motors. Because of an ignition defect, the car company recalled 778,200 cars worldwide. The vehicles are said to shut off because of a heavy key ring or a “jarring event” such as a car crash, defects which may prevent safety airbags from deploying.
The original February GM auto recall was later expanded by another 748,000 cars in the United States, totaling nearly 1.6 million vehicles worldwide, and now includes these models:
- 2007 Pontiac G5
- 2005–07 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2003–07 Saturn Ion
- 2006–07 Chevrolet HHR
- 2006–07 Pontiac Solstice
- 2006–07 Saturn Sky
The auto manufacturer has been chastised for not taking action earlier. According to the news, GM began investigating in 2004 after a Cobalt lost power when an ignition moved out of place. GM did not fix the problem, but in 2005 issued an alert to dealers. By 2007, GM learned of 10 frontal crashes in which the key ignition was likely a factor, but the company declined to take action when it discovered the crashes involved high speeds and violent impacts.
Now, 13 deaths are linked to the GM auto ignition defect. For Laura Christian, this number has a special, terrible meaning. Her daughter, Amber Marie Rose, was one of the first victims killed when the airbags of a defective 2005 Cobalt failed to deploy. Only now, nearly nine years later, has Christian learned her daughter’s death was caused by a defective car part.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating the delayed recall, but is itself under heavy criticism for not acting sooner. GM issued two apologies for its delays, but may face up to $35 million in fines. GM may also face significant lawsuits from injury victims and surviving family members of those killed by the auto defects.
If you were injured or lost a loved one because of a possible auto defect, compassionate and experienced product defect attorneys in North Carolina may be able to help you hold the manufacturer responsible and obtain compensation for your harm.