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GM ignition switch recall expanded to 1.37M vehicles

by Nat Shirley

The ignition switch flaw has been linked to 13 deaths.

General Motors is significantly expanding the scope of a recent recall aimed at addressing defective ignition switches that have been linked to 13 deaths.

Initially expected to cover 778,556 vehicles, the recall will now impact all 1.37 million vehicles in North America that use the faulty ignition switch design. Model year 2003-07 Saturn Ion, 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR and 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky models will join the original vehicles, the 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5, on the recall list.

GM says that the affected vehicles are fitted with a ignition switch that, in conjunction with a heavy key ring or bumpy road, can move out of the "run” position to "accessory” or "off,” cutting the power brakes, power steering, anti-lock brakes and airbags.

Thirty-one accidents and 13 deaths stemming from the issue have been reported, the automaker says.

Dealers will replace the ignition switch, free of charge; until the fix is effected, GM advises drivers to remove non-essential items from key rings.

"Ensuring our customers' safety is our first order of business,” said GM North America President Alan Batey. "We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can.

"The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been. Today's GM is committed to doing business differently and better. We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward.”

GM is currently facing a lawsuit alleging that it learned of the ignition switch flaw in 2004, but elected to issue a service bulletin with a band-aid solution rather that implement a recall to fully address the problem.

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