WASHINGTON -- General Motors is bringing the recall notice into the digital age.
GM is launching a smartphone app this summer that will allow its vehicle owners to check whether their vehicles are subject to any open recalls. It's the latest move by automakers to redouble efforts to get owners to comply with vehicle callbacks, a task that has taken on greater importance amid the unfolding Takata airbag recall that now covers nearly 70 million vehicles.
The app includes a simple "Check For Recalls" tab at the bottom of the "Vehicle Status" section. Clicking on it pulls up information on any open recalls affecting the vehicle, directing the users to their preferred dealership to inquire about repairs. GM demonstrated the app during a media drive here last week for the redesigned 2017 Acadia midsize crossover.
"It's an easy way to make people aware of recalls and give them the information they need to take the next step," said Tim Babbitt, senior manager of connected applications at GM.
GM delved deep into the mechanics of recall response during 2014, amid the recall of 2.6 million older cars to fix a faulty ignition switch linked to at least 124 deaths. That effort included a digital marketing campaign that sought to reach affected owners through ads on Facebook and other social media sites.
The company continues to expand the methods it uses to find affected customers and compel them to get their vehicles repaired, GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said. The company shares what it learns about the effectiveness of its communication tactics with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, he said.
While the app will be useful in contacting owners of newer vehicles that support the smartphone connections, Wilkinson acknowledges that it's the owners of older cars who are the toughest to track down and persuade to come in for repairs.
The recall notification will be among a number of new features included in the smartphone app, which will be offered starting July 18 under each of GM's four brands, as myGMC, myChevrolet, myBuick and myCadillac. The branded offerings will replace OnStar's RemoteLink app, which has attracted more than 3 million users since it was launched in 2011. It allows owners to remotely lock or start their cars, manage their vehicles' wireless-data plans and find local merchants, for example. RemoteLink will remain in place as GM tries to transition customers to the branded apps.