What is happening with General Motors? I hate to do negative articles about any single vehicle or supplier, but a thinking person has to question the number of serious recalls that GM has been forced to issue recently.
The most important to sportsmen and their families, I suspect, are the most recent. Late Friday, GM announced recalls for the 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 trucks, as well as the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs. There are 490,000 vehicles subject to the recall. It does not appear that heavy duty trucks are involved in this recall.
The problem is transmission oil cooling lines which were not secured properly in their fittings. As a result, transmission oil can leak from a fitting and cause fires when hitting hot surfaces, according to GM’s official statement. So far GM knows of three fires and no injuries or deaths.
I would suggest immediately contacting your dealer if you have purchased any of these late-model vehicles. (GM began producing the large SUVs in March of this year.)
In addition, the company announced a recall of 172,000 2013 and 2014 Chevy Cruze compact cars with the 1.4L turbo-charged four-cylinder gas engine. The is a problem with the right front axle shaft which can cause fracture and separation. This is currently GM’s most popular car and one which has been well received. Again, a call to your dealer is warranted.
Small car ignition problems are huge issue
These new recalls join a list of four others from the last few months, bringing the number of affected vehicles to about 4.8-million cars and trucks. The largest is for about 2.6-millioon small cars including the Chevy Cobalt, Chevy HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky for the 2003 – 2011 model years. There are serious questions in this case about allowing less-than-spec parts to be used for the ignition switches. These can move from the operational setting to accessory or off position causing stalls and disabling of air bags and power steering. Injuries and deaths have been reported, and there are even more questions about when GM knew about the problem and how it was (not) handled promptly.
Tomorrow, Mary Barra, GM’s recently named CEO, will testify before a congressional sub-committee about this specific issue. I expect some ugly and well-deserved rhetoric from members of both parties. Barra was not in this high-profile role for any of the product development problems that seem to be occurring right and left, and some well-placed people have voiced the question of whether she was set up when offered the post as CEO. We will probably never know, but the timing was terrible given all of the current quality problems.
Other recent GM recalls
Another of GM’s recall problems has been caused by side air bags, front center air bags and seat belt pretensioners which might not deploy the air bag warning light on 1.18-million SUVs. Affected are the 2008 – 2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, 2009 – 2013 Chevy Traverse, and 2008 – 010 Saturn Outlook. If you are the original owner (as with all recalls), you will be contacted by mail, but a call to your dealer is always a good idea.
Additional recalls include 303,000 Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans from model years 2009 – 2014 because the material on the instrument panel might not adequately protest unbelted passengers’ heads in the event of a crash; and 63,900 Cadillac XT^S sedans from 2013 – 2014 because a brake assembly can get dislodged increasing the risk of an engine compartment fire.
Again, the initial action by an owner should be to contact the dealer.
Although I know a number of you were terribly angry about the GM bailout and were very vocal about your displeasure (which I welcome), these are not problems related to bailing out a major employer during a broad-sweeping financial crisis. This appears to be more related to failures in multiple areas including supply chain, engineering, testing, manufacturing and testing. It also may mean that cost cutting let to corner cutting and quality problems. In any case, GM has what appears to be an endemic problem that may be more difficult to correct than a money crisis.