GM recalls 1.3 million 2004-10 Chevy, Saturn and Pontiac cars for power steering glitch

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DETROIT -- General Motors said today that it will recall more than 1.3 million older model cars that could experience a sudden loss of electric power, expanding a safety crisis that now includes eight separate recalls covering nearly 6 million vehicles over the past six weeks.

The latest recall includes seven models mostly from the mid-2000s, including the Chevy Malibu, HHR, and Cobalt; the Saturn Aura and Ion; and the Pontiac G6.

GM is aware of “some crashes and injuries that could be related to the loss of power steering in these vehicles,” but it does not know of any confirmed fatalities, a company spokesman said.

Some of the cars included in today's recall also are subject to the recall of 2.2 million cars for an ignition switch that has been linked to 13 deaths. Owners might be required to make separate dealership visits to fix each problem, GM said in a statement.

GM said a sudden loss of power steering would make it harder for the driver to control the car and increase the risk of a crash. The fix involves replacing the power steering motor, the steering column, the power steering motor control or a combination of those systems, depending on the model.

The models to be recalled include:

• Chevrolet Malibu: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles.

• Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some 2006 vehicles.

• Chevrolet HHR (Non-Turbo): Some model year 2009 and 2010 vehicles.

• Chevrolet Cobalt: Some model year 2010 vehicles.

• Saturn Aura: Some model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles.

• Saturn Ion: All model year 2004 to 2007 vehicles.

• Pontiac G6: All model year 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles.

In a related matter, GM said it expects to take a charge of up to approximately $750 million in the first quarter, primarily for the cost to cover recall-related repairs announced during the quarter. 

The amount of the first-quarter charge includes a previously disclosed $300 million charge for three safety-related actions announced on March 17 and the ignition switch recall announced on Feb. 25, GM said in a statement.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.


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