GM Ignition Switch Complaints Date Back to 1997 - Unhaggle

Posted by | July 04, 2014 | News, Trends | No Comments

ignition switch

The complaints about the ignition switch issue that affected thousands of General Motors vehicles date as far back as 1997.

This means that GM owners have been experiencing this problem since before the company has even launched the Chevrolet Cobalt and other compact vehicles with faulty switches connected to at least 13 deaths. However, the automaker was reportedly aware of the problem since the 1990s, with the 1997 Chevrolet Malibu and 2000 Chevrolet Impala being some of the vehicles affected by it.

According to a Reuters review of a consumer complaints database retrieved from the U.S. safety regulators, GM dealers were notified of ignition switch-related issues around the time when the 1997 Malibu was launched. Moreover, the report has also documented the fact that many Malibu owners could not fix the defects. Those included keys getting stuck in the ignition or becoming removable during driving, as well as failure of the ignition switches to start the engine or causing the engine to stall.

Later on, even more severe issues were reported. Some drivers complained that their vehicles stalled on the highway, with one dealer being quoted as stating that the problem could be fixed by changing the switch. One of the earliest complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in April 1997 involved a woman from New Jersey who apparently had been “stranded seven times” because she couldn’t turn the key that remained stuck in the ignition of her 1997 Malibu. Her dealer has allegedly replaced the ignition twice, but the issue persisted.

GM eventually recalled the affected 1997 Malibu and 2000 Impala vehicles in 2001, citing “unintended ignition key rotation” as the main reason – which resulted in the engine shutting down while the car is on the move, cutting power to steering, brakes and air bags.

A similar issue has affected the 2.6 million GM cars recalled earlier this year, which included the 2005-2010 Cobalt and 2003-2007 Saturn Ion. The automaker has admitted that 13 deaths have transpired because of the issue.

More evidence that GM knew about the problem surfaced this April when a company-wide review unveiled a 2005 email with a warning that a 2006 Impala stalled during per-production testing. GM tested the Impala and other full-size cars in May and learned that they didn’t meet the automaker’s standards, which resulted in a June16 recall of 3.4 million cars – as revealed by a report from NHTSA.

GM has recalled almost 15 million vehicles with switch issues this year in total. However, the company has also announced that it will provide compensation to the victims of this defect.


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About Taras Trofimov

Taras is the content lead here at Unhaggle, which means that he spends most of his time either editing someone’s articles or writing his own. So, whether it’s a news piece, feature article or car review – Taras probably had something to do with it. He also runs a personal website, which can be found right here. He would like to one day drive his own Lexus IS, but his all-time favourite is the 1999 Dodge Viper. Don’t ask him why, because he doesn’t know either.

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