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Feds Probing GM Response to Ignition Switch Defect

March 14, 2014

The 2004 Saturn Ion is included in GM's safety recall. Photo courtesy of General Motors.
The 2004 Saturn Ion is included in GM's safety recall. Photo courtesy of General Motors.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in New York has begun investigating General Motors' overall response to incident reports that eventually led to this year's ignition switch recall.

The ignition switch problem prompted a worldwide safety recall of 1.62 million 2003-2007 model-year GM vehicles. At issue now is whether the automaker disclosed the problem and issued the recall in a timely enough manner to comply with federal regulations.

The recall covers all 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada), 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and 2007 Saturn Sky vehicles.

Delphi Automotive manufactured the ignition switches. Under certain conditions, they can move out of the "run" position and into "accessory" or "off," leading to a partial loss of electrical power and turning off the engine. This condition can also disable airbags, power brakes and power steering, reports Reuters.

The problem is more likely to occur if the car key ring carries additional weight or the car is traveling on a bumpy road, according to GM. The defect has been linked to 13 deaths.

Two congressional committees are also conducting probes into the actions of both General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Meanwhile, NHTSA has launched an investigation of its own. The recall is seen as the first test for incoming CEO Mary Barra, who is expected to testify before Congress, reports the Detroit News.

For more information about the safety recall and remedy, click here

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