DETROIT (USA TODAY) - General Motors is recalling 619,122 of its last-generation compact
cars in the U.S. because a heavy keyring or jarring can cause the
ignition to switch off, according to documents posted on the National
Highway Traffic Safety administration site.
The company is aware
of 22 crashes and six fatalities related to the ignition switch in 2005-
to 2007-model Chevrolet Cobalts and 2007-model Pontiac G5s. The two
mechanically similar sedans are discontinued models.
reported to NHTSA that the switch may fail if a key ring is "carrying
added weight or the vehicle goes off road or experiences some other
jarring event." In those cases, the switch could be "moved out of the
Adding to the safety risk in case of a crash, the timing of the key movement could result in the air bags not going off.
Including cars sold elsewhere in North America, the total recall is 778,562.
told Reuters that it knows of five front-impact crashes and six
fatalities in crashes where the front airbags did not deploy, though it
said all were high-speed crashes where the probability of serious or
fatal injuries was high in any case. It also said that alcohol use and
not wearing seat belts figured in some of the cases.
replace the ignition switch to remedy the problem, according to NHTSA,
and GM urges owners to take non-essential items off of their key ring
until the switch is replaced.
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