GM recalls 413,418 Chevy Cruzes in U.S. to modify engine shield, prevent fires
61,000 Cruzes also to be inspected for proper welds
The recall covers 413,418 Cruzes, or all models sold in the U.S. since the car's launch in September 2010 through May.
DETROIT -- General Motors is recalling all Chevrolet Cruzes sold in the United States for a repair aimed at preventing engine-compartment fires.
GM said the recall covers 475,418 Cruzes build at GM's Lordstown, Ohio, plant since September 2010, just before the car's launch, through May. Of those, 413,418 were sold in the United States, 61,299 were sold in Canada and 701 were exported to Israel.
The automaker said the recall is to modify an engine shield under the vehicle to prevent liquids from being trapped in the engine compartment, where a fire could start.
GM said it is not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities that resulted from the problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today it was aware of 28 fires involving the Cruze.
The Cruze was GM's top-selling car in the United States last year with 231,732 sales.
In March, NHTSA opened an investigation into the Cruze after two engine-compartment fires were reported in 2011 models. The agency later added 2012 models to its probe, GM said.
The free repair should take about 30 minutes at any Chevrolet dealership, GM said. Notifications to owners will begin July 11.
GM said a fire could start in the Cruze's engine compartment if the oil is changed improperly and either spills or drips onto the hot engine shield.
In models equipped with a manual transmission, a worn clutch could lead to hydraulic fluid leaking from the clutch housing and dripping onto the engine shield, creating a similar fire risk, GM said.
This is the second time since the vehicle's fall 2010 launch in the United States that GM has recalled every Cruze on the road.
In May 2011, GM recalled all 154,000 Cruzes that had been sold in the United States and Canada to determine whether the steering shaft was installed properly.
Also that month, GM issued another recall on the 2011 model-year Cruze to check if the transmission shift linkage had been correctly installed, according to NHTSA's website. That recall affected 100,308 Cruzes in the United States.
GM also said today that it is running a second, concurrent recall to inspect Cruze models for a potential problem with welds that could affect the vehicle's fuel tank.
Of the 475,000 Cruzes that will be recalled for the engine-shield repair, about 61,000 built will be inspected for the weld issue, a GM spokesman said.
GM said an analysis determined up to 249 of those 61,000 cars were not properly welded and need to be fixed.
The automaker said it will inspect up to 26 welds out of 6,700 on each Cruze.
In a high-speed crash that directly impacts the car's filler neck, where the gas nozzle is inserted, models with improper or missing welds could leak fuel, the spokesman said.
GM invested more than $350 million in 2009 and 2010 to retool the Lordstown plant for Cruze production. About 4,500 employees work on three shifts at the plant, which is about 50 miles southeast of Cleveland.
Christina Rogers contributed to this report
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