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 Judge Denies Request to Force Parking of Recalled GM Cars

General Motors Recall

General Motors has recalled millions of cars with a faulty ignition switch. Attorney Bob Hilliard is representing the family girls involved killed in the crash of a Chevy Cobalt.

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4 months ago

Judge Denies Request to Force Parking of Recalled GM Cars

CORPUS CHRISTI - District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos denied an emergency order that would have forced General Motors to tell owners of 2 million recalled cars to stop driving their vehicles until their ignition switches are repaired.

Attorney Robert Hilliard, who represents some owners, had argued that the GM cars could at any moment lose power and expose their occupants to serious injury or death.

GM had urged the court not to intervene and instead let a recall overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proceed. The carmaker said extensive testing had shown that if the recall instructions were followed, there was no risk that the ignition switch would fail.

GM has linked the switch to 13 deaths.

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4 months ago

Lawyers Wants GM to tell Owner of Recalled Cars to 'Park It'

CORPUS CHRISTI - Local attorneys want General Motors to tell the owners of 2.5 million recalled vehicles to park them.

Bob Hilliard and Thomas J. Henry are asking U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to grant that emergency order.

Hilliard is representing the families of two teenage girls in Wisconsin who died in the crash of a 2006 Chevy Cobalt.

Hilliard argues that the GM cars recalled for ignition switch problems could lose power at any moment and expose their occupants to serious injury or death.

But GM is urging the judge not to intervene and instead let the recall of its vehicles proceed. GM has linked a faulty ignition switch in those vehicles to at least 13 deaths.

The recall impacts the following vehicles:

  • 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5
  • 2003-2010 Saturn Ion
  • 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
  • 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada)
  • 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2007 Saturn Sky

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4 months ago

GM, Safety Agency Face Congress Over Recalls

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress will press General Motors' new CEO at a hearing Tuesday about why GM sold cars with an ignition switch that failed to meet its own specifications, and then failed to heed the recommendations of engineers to fix the part.

In all, they will want to know why it took GM a decade to recall cars with the faulty switches, which the company now links to 13 deaths and dozens of crashes.

Some current GM car owners and relatives of those who died in crashes are also in Washington seeking answers. The group held a press conference where they demanded action against GM and stiffer legislation to prevent serious auto vehicle problems.

GM has recalled 2.6 million cars for the faulty switch. That recall prompted the automaker to name a new safety chief and review its recall processes. The company says new switches should be available starting April 7. Concerned owners can ask dealers for a loaner car while waiting for the replacement part.

Lawmakers will also seek answers Tuesday from the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the nation's auto safety watchdog, about why the agency failed to investigate the GM cars despite numerous complaints from consumers about the cars stalling. Also, one of its top defects investigators proposed an investigation of the GM cars for air bags not deploying in 2007. A NHTSA panel decides not to open an investigation, according to a timeline released by the House subcommittee holding the hearing.

Whether members will get the answers they're seeking is unclear. In prepared remarks, Barra says she doesn't know "why it took years for a safety defect to be announced," but that "we will find out." GM has hired an outside attorney to lead an investigation of the company's safety processes.

In his prepared remarks, NHTSA chief David Friedman points the finger at GM, saying the automaker had information last decade that could have led to a recall, but only shared it last month.

The victims' families will attend the hearing, wearing blue shirts featuring a photo of 16-year-old Amber Marie Rose, who was killed in a 2005 Cobalt crash, and the words "Protect Our Children."

Laura Christian, birth mother of Amber Marie Rose, a teenager who died in a 2005 Maryland crash involving a Chevrolet Cobalt, said about 30 family members met with Barra and two GM attorneys Monday night. She said they got little reaction.

"A lot of, 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry,' " Christian said.

GM would not comment on details of the meeting.

House Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said Tuesday that Democratic committee staff members found 133 warranty claims filed with GM over 10 years detailing customer complaints of sudden engine stalling when they drove over a bump or brushed keys with their knees.

The claims were filed between June 2003 and June 2012.

"GM shouldn't be receiving information over a 10-year period and not taking action to either inform the public or recall the vehicles," Waxman said.

Renee Trautwein, whose daughter Sarah Trautwein died while driving a 2005 Cobalt in June 2009 in South Carolina, said she is "sickened" by revelations that GM had multiple warranty claims about the problem yet did nothing.

"I think they should be taken off the road today," she said of the recalled GM cars.


Durbin reported from Detroit. Associated Press writer Marcy Gordon in Washington contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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5 months ago

GM Adding 824,000 Vehicles to Ignition Recall

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors is adding 824,000 small cars to its ongoing recall tied to defective ignition switches.

The company will add vehicles from the 2008-2011 model years to a recall that initially covered cars only through the 2007 model year.

The Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky are all involved in the recall.

GM says around 5,000 of the faulty switches were used for repairs on 2008-2011 model year cars. GM says it's expanding the recall to make sure it finds all the switches.

GM says it's not aware of any fatalities connected to the defect in the 2008-2011 models.

The ignition switches can move out of the "run" position and cause the engine to stall. The defect is linked to 12 deaths.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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5 months ago

New GM Recall

DETROIT - General Motors has issued another recall related to faulty ignition switches.
The initial recall has been expanded to include more than 1.5 million more vehicles.

They include Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana Vans from 2009 to 2014, Cadillac XTS full sized sedans from 2013 to 2014, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia models from 2008 to 2013, and the Saturn Outlook from the 2008 to 2010 model years.

Mary Berra, GM CEO, said, "I want you to know that we are completely focused on the problems at the highest levels of the company and we are putting the customer first and that is guiding every decision we make. That is how we want GM to be judged. How we handle the recall will be an important test of that commitment."

Repairs will be made at no cost to customers. The company says it has received no reports of accidents or injuries related to these three new recalls.

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5 months ago

US House Committee Investigating GM Recall

DETROIT (AP) - A congressional committee is investigating the way General Motors and a federal safety agency handled a deadly ignition switch problem in compact cars.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received a large number of complaints about the problem during the past decade. But GM didn't recall the 1.6 million cars worldwide until last month.

Upton says the committee will hold a hearing soon. He says the committee wants to know if GM or the agency missed something that could have flagged the problems sooner.

An Associated Press review of driver complaints to the agency found some dating to late 2005. GM admits it knew of the problem in 2004.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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6 months ago

Local Attorney Prepares to Sue GM

CORPUS CHRISTI - A General Motors recall has now led to a threat of a lawsuit by a Corpus Christi attorney. The issue is an ignition problem that GM admits may be linked to dozens of accidents.

General Motors is recalling more than 1-million vehicles to correct a problem with the ignition switch which could fail and shut off the engine. When that happens, the airbags may not deploy in a crash. The recall involves certain older model cars from 2005 through 2007. GM said it's aware of 31 crashes that could be linked to this problem.

The company has already recalled Chevy Cobalt models from 2005 through 2007 and the 2007 Pontiac G6s. Now, GM says it is also recalling Saturn Ions from 2003 to 2007, Chevy HHRs from 2006 and 2007, and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky models from 2006 and 2007.

Corpus Christi attorney Bob Hilliard is planning to file two lawsuits against GM. One involves two teens killed in an accident allegedly caused by the malfunction. The other involves some local families say their experienced that ignition problem.

The cases he's handling involves the Chevy Cobalt. Hilliard says the Cobalt's malfunction would cause the brakes and power steering to stop working, and the air bags wouldn't deploy.

He's representing the families of two 15 year old girls from Wisconsin died after Hilliard says their 2006 Cobalt malfunctioned. He's also representing 3 Corpus Christi families whose vehicles did the same thing. In their cases, no deaths were involved. Hilliard says it's time for GM to understand that when they have an issue like that, they can't wait 13 years to tell the public they've known about issue all along.

"General Motors could have easily shared the information that they actually had. They actually knew that there was a danger. They knew that the defect existed and they covered it up," said Hilliard.

Hilliard says his Law firm will be filing those lawsuits in the next few days.

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6 months ago

GM Expands Small Car Recall, Cites 13 Deaths

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors on Tuesday doubled to 1.6 million the number of small cars it is recalling to fix faulty ignition switches linked to multiple fatal crashes.

Just two weeks ago, GM announced the recall of more than 780,000 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s. It's now adding 842,000 Saturn Ion compacts, Chevrolet HHR SUVs and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars.

The company was immediately lambasted by a well-known safety advocate who says GM knew of the problem for years and waited too long to recall the cars even though people were killed because of the problem.

GM says a heavy key ring or jarring from rough roads can cause the ignition switch to move out of the run position and shut off the engine and electrical power. That can knock out power-assisted brakes and steering and disable the front air bags. The problem has been linked to 31 crashes and 13 front-seat deaths. In the fatalities, the air bags did not inflate, but the engines did not shut off in all cases, GM said.

It was unclear whether the ignition switches caused the crashes, or whether people died because the air bags didn't inflate.

The vehicles being recalled include: Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s from the 2005 through 2007 model years; Saturn Ion compacts from 2003 through 2007; and Chevrolet HHR SUVs and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars from 2006 and 2007. Most of the cars were sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

According to a chronology of events that GM filed Monday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company knew of the problem as early as 2004, and was told of at least one fatal crash in March of 2007. GM issued service bulletins in 2005 and 2006 telling dealers how to fix the problem with a key insert, and advising them to tell customers not to dangle too many items from their key chains. But the company's records showed that only 474 vehicle owners got the key inserts.

GM thought the service bulletin was sufficient because the car's steering and brakes were operable even after the engines lost power, according to the chronology.

By the end of 2007, GM knew of 10 cases in which Cobalts were in front-end crashes where the air bags didn't inflate, the chronology said.

In 2005, GM initially approved an engineer's plan to redesign the ignition switch, but the change was "later canceled," according to the chronology.

"They knew by 2007 they had 10 incidents where the air bag didn't deploy in this type of crash," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Center for Auto Safety. "This is a case where both GM and NHTSA should be held accountable for doing a recall no later than the spring of 2007."

GM North American President Alan Batey said in a statement that the process to examine the problem "was not as robust" as it should have been and said the GM of today would behave differently. "We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward," he said.

GM spokesman Alan Adler said that initially the rate of problems per 1,000 vehicles was low, so the company did not recall the cars.

NHTSA issued a statement that didn't address why the recall wasn't done sooner. The statement said the agency is communicating with GM about how long it took to identify the safety problem, but didn't specify if any action would be taken.

Dealers will replace the ignition switch for free, but Adler said it will take some time for the parts to be manufactured and sent to dealers. No time frame was given for making the repairs.

"We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can," Batey said.


AP Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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