General Motors to Recall 1.3 Million Vehicles in North America over Power Steering Problems

On Tuesday, General Motors Company announced that it will recall 1.3 million vehicles in North America following complaints about power steering problems that have allegedly led to 14 crashes, including one that resulted in injury.

On January 27, federal regulators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation after receiving over 1,100 consumer complaints alleging power steering failures in Chevrolet’s popular Cobalt compact car.

In addition to 905,000 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalts in the U.S., GM said the voluntary recall will include 2007-2010 Pontiac G5s sold in the U.S., 2005-2006 Pontiac G4s sold in Mexico and 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuits sold in Canada.

The company said it notified the NHTSA of its recall plans on Monday based on the results of its own internal investigation which began last year.

GM said that, in the event of a power steering failure, drivers will hear a warning chime and see a warning light illuminated on the vehicle’s instrument cluster. It said that even in the event of such a failure, the vehicle can be safely controlled but that steering may require greater effort on the part of the driver if the vehicle is traveling below 15 mph.

In a statement, General Motors’ vice president of quality Jamie Hresko said, “After our in-depth investigation, we found that this is a condition that takes time to develop. It tends to occur in older models out of warranty.” He added, “Recalling these vehicles is the right thing to do for our customers’ peace of mind.”

GM does not yet have a repair for the problem but said it is working on a remedy and will contact customers once the repair plan is ready for implementation.

The timing of the recall could hardly be worse for GM.

Along with Ford and Hyundai, GM recently announced special incentives of up to $1,000 targeted at Toyota owners considering switching brands over safety concerns arising from the Japanese automaker’s recent string of recalls.

Also of obvious concern was today’s announcement that Ford Motor Company last month replaced GM as the best-selling brand in the U.S. for the first time in twelve years.

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