What is going on with the GM ignitions? (Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn)
If you now own or lease, or previously owned or leased, certain models of Chevrolet, Pontiac or Saturn, you may have suffered material financial harm. You have likely paid more for your vehicle than you would have paid had you been aware of a serious defect in your vehicle’s ignition switch, as explained in detail below. You may have legal claims against General Motors Company (GM) and should contact an attorney to discuss your rights.
Affected GM-Manufactured Vehicles With Defective Ignitions
- 2005–2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2006–2007 Chevrolet HHR
- 2005–2006 Pontiac Pursuit
- 2006–2007 Pontiac Solstice
- 2007 Pontiac G5
- 2003–2007 Saturn Ion
- 2007 Saturn Sky
What is the Defect?
Each of the more than 1.3 million affected vehicles manufactured by GM contains an inherent, common defect in the ignition switch, causing the vehicles’ engines and power systems to switch off while in operation. The defect also can cause various systems in the affected vehicles, such as air bags, to be disabled.
According to the GM website:
There is a risk, under certain conditions, that your ignition switch may move out of the “run” position, resulting in a partial loss of electrical power and turning off the engine. This risk increases if your key ring is carrying added weight (such as more keys or the key fob) or your vehicle experiences rough road conditions or other jarring or impact related events. If the ignition switch is not in the run position, the air bags may not deploy if the vehicle is involved in a crash, increasing the risk of injury or fatality.
Catastrophic Effects of the Ignition Switch Defect
The ignition defect has resulted in at least thirty-one crashes and thirteen deaths, and that number may, in fact, be much larger.
Widespread Complaints About the Ignition Problem Ignored for Years by GM
Consumers have lodged more than 260 complaints about the GM ignition problem with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2003.
An investigative report published by The New York Times on March 8, 2014 described the nature of the complaints in this way: “Many of the complaints detailed frightening scenes in which moving cars suddenly stalled at high speeds, on highways, in the middle of city traffic, and while crossing railroad tracks. A number of the complaints warned of catastrophic consequences if something was not done.”
That publication also found that GM received, on average, two complaints per month of the ignition-related shutdowns since February 2003. Despite these complaints, GM repeatedly stated that there was insufficient evidence to justify a safety investigation.
GM’s Long-Delayed Recall
In February 2014—more than a decade after receiving the first complaints about the faulty ignition switches — GM finally took action, recalling over 1.3 million affected vehicles.
While the ignition switches in question have not been installed in GM vehicles since model year 2010, as many as hundreds of thousands of affected vehicles are still on the road.
GM’s Decade-Long Concealment and Misrepresentations About the Ignition Defect
GM has acknowledged that it knew of the problem with its ignition switches by at least 2004, when the company claims it first learned of the defect in Chevy Cobalts.
However, GM knew of the problem even earlier. In an March 12, 2014 amended submission to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company wrote that it had identified an issue with the ignition switch in 2001 pre-production testing on the Saturn Ion.
Despite this specific knowledge, GM continued to manufacture, and continued to advertise for sale, sell, lease, and provide warranties for the affected vehicles through at least 2010. GM has made misrepresentations and concealed information regarding the ignition problem, allowing the company to continue to sell and lease the affected vehicles to consumers and avoid the expense of the repair or redesign necessary to properly address the defect.
On March 10, 2014, it was announced that a committee of the House of Representatives had begun an investigation into the severely delayed response of both GM and federal safety regulators to the numerous and frequent complaints about the dangerously defective ignition switches.
Discuss Your Claim
If you now own or lease, or previously owned or leased, any of the above-listed GM-manufactured models of Chevrolet, Pontiac or Saturn, please contact Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. to discuss your potential claim by submitting the contact form, or by calling us at 866-365-8533.
Please visit Grant & Eisenhofer to learn more about us and our expert consumer claims practice.