General Motors has come under the spotlight due to its recall of 13.8 million vehicles in the United States, including those sold in Texas. This has included the most recent recall of 500 new pickup trucks and SUVs due to an airbag malfunction and 2.6 million vehicles due to a faulty ignition that has led to 13 deaths.
The most recent calamity to hit GM was the faulty ignition defect. The defect led to a situation where key rings holding more than one key could cause the ignition to switch to the accessory position or the off position. That could lead to the loss of power, including power steering and breaking, as well as preventing airbags from deploying in the event of a front-impact crash.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM was aware of the defect prior to 2014, but chose to do something about it only this year. The agency criticized GM for waiting so long, noting that the families and friends of those killed as a result “deserve straight answers about what happened.” In response, GM claims that it has launched a new unit that will quickly uncover any safety defects and issue recall notices for the applicable vehicles. For delaying the recall of vehicles with ignition problems, GM will pay a fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of $35 million. That is unlikely to be the last time GM issues a payout, given that many families of those killed will probably file wrongful death lawsuits. Some believe that the lawsuits against GM could force the company to pay out as much as $10 billion.
Meanwhile, GM has had problems in other areas. Recently, it also issued a much smaller recall of its redesigned full-size pickup trucks and SUVs because a supplier installed a part that was potentially faulty. Since these trucks were intended to be sold in 2014 and 2015, they had fortunately not left the plants where they were manufactured or dealer’s lots. Hopefully they will be fully corrected before they are sold.
Overall, GM has issued seven recalls in one week and an astounding 30 since January 1, 2014. Fortunately for the automaker, the recalls have not harmed sales, which remain robust, but it could obviously be a problem for the consumer if these issues are not resolved. Even more worrisome for the consumer, GM is not alone in dealing with defects. Toyota has dealt with corrosion, faulty brakes, and glitching software that affects air bags on some of its vehicles. In response to its delay of safety problems, Toyota was forced to pay a fine worth $1.2 billion and accept three years of probation. As for why consumers have not been more concerned about the recalls, some cite “recall fatigue,” noting that a wide variety of products, such as food, have been recalled recently. Most consumers want to purchase products without living in fear.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to an injury in a vehicle accident caused by another driver, you may be entitled to compensation, including medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering. The experienced San Antonio personal injury attorneys at Carabin & Shaw may be able to help. Call our office for more information at 1-800-862-1260.