General Motors has told dealers to halt deliveries of the new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups because of a pending safety recall to fix an airbag defect, just two weeks after shipments began for the high-profile launch.
In a note sent to dealers Thursday about the midsize pickups, GM said it has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of an “upcoming safety and noncompliance recall” to fix the airbag flaw. GM said that the pickups’ driver-side airbag connections “were wired incorrectly during the manufacturing process,” which could disrupt their deployment.
“This condition will cause the driver-side airbags to not function as designed and may adversely affect the crash performance of the driver-side airbags,” GM’s notice said.
GM said dealers will be instructed to reprogram the airbag’s sensing and diagnostic module with new software, which is expected to be available “in the next few days.”
Deliveries can resume once the software patch is complete, GM said.
It’s unclear how many Colorados and Canyons have been delivered to dealers from GM’s Wentzville, Mo., plant, which started shipments on Sept. 18. GM spokesman Alan Adler said 49 vehicles are in customer possession, but the number of vehicles to be recalled has yet to be determined. He said the majority of affected vehicles are being held at the assembly plant or are in transit or unsold at dealerships.
GM reported September sales of 36 Colorados and 11 Canyons.
The vehicles are safe to drive, Adler said, but free loaner vehicles are available to customers who prefer to wait until the computer reprogramming is done.
The stop-delivery order could be an embarrassing snag for GM as it begins the closely watched launch of the midsize pickups, a market its main truck rivals have abandoned.
But it also underscores GM’s new approach to potential safety defects in the wake of its recall this year of 2.6 million cars for faulty ignition switches now linked to 23 deaths. GM executives have vowed greater diligence on potential safety problems early in the launch process.
CEO Mary Barra has said that the approach will likely result in a greater number of recalls that affect smaller numbers of vehicles because problems will be uncovered earlier than in the past.
Many of the 71 safety recalls that GM has ordered so far this year -- totaling about 30 million vehicles overall -- have involved only a few hundred vehicles, with many still sitting on dealership lots.
In a separate action, GM today announced two recalls covering 524,384 vehicles globally, including 379,401 in the U.S. The U.S. actions include 290,107 2010-15 model-year Cadillac SRX and 2011-12 Saab 9-4X SUVs for torque inspection of rear toe link adjuster lock nuts, GM said.
The automaker said improper torqueing could possibly result in a loose joint and worn threads that "could cause the toe adjuster link to separate."
GM said it is aware of three crashes and two injuries as a result of the problem. GM said it reported the recall to NHTSA on Sept. 17.
The automaker is also recalling 89,294 2013-15 model-year Chevrolet Spark models in the U.S. because corrosion can cause the secondary hood latch striker to stick in the open position.
If the primary latch is not engaged, the hood could open unexpectedly, GM said. The vehicles were imported from South Korea. GM said about 13,000 of the vehicles are being held at U.S. dealerships.
GM said it was not aware of any crashes, injuries or deaths related to this issue, but in documents filed with NHTSA it cited two cases in the United Kingdom and one in Denmark in which the vehicle hood opened while the customer was driving.
During its investigation, GM said it discovered the suspect secondary hood latch failed a 10-year component level corrosion test in November 2013, according to documents filed with NHTSA. By February 2014, GM said it determined that the anticorrosion coating was deficient and it began applying a different coating in late July.
GM's investigation revealed 10 U.S. warranty cases with premature corroding of secondary hood latches, according to the NHTSA documents.
Philip Nussel and Reuters contributed to this report.