clear
Thursday May 7th, 2015 2:46AM

GM adds 2 recalls; 2014 total above 8.5 million

By The Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors added two recalls Thursday to its growing list for the year, pushing the total number of vehicles called back for fixes in 2014 to more than 8.5 million in the U.S. alone.

The company, which is in the midst of the largest recall crisis in its 105-year history, is recalling more than 140,000 Chevrolet Malibu midsize cars to fix a problem with the power-assisted brakes, plus another 477 full-size pickup trucks for a steering problem.

The high number of GM recalls is pushing the U.S. auto industry toward a record-breaking year, and is an example of how automakers are moving far faster to fix problems than it has in the past in a bid to avoid bad publicity and record fines from government agencies.

Thursday's recalls brought GM's total for the year to 16, including 2.6 million small cars worldwide for a deadly ignition switch problem. The problem, which affects mainly older-model Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, can cause the switches to slip out of the "run" position, shutting down the engine and disabling the power steering, brakes and air bags. That can cause drivers to lose control of the cars and crash. GM says the problem has caused 13 deaths, but trial lawyers suing the company say the death toll is at least 53.

GM has admitted knowing about the ignition switch problem for more than a decade, and that has brought investigations from two congressional committees, the Justice Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It's also brought a shake-up at GM, with two top engineers leaving the company, two more suspended with pay and the appointment of a new safety chief who vowed to catch and fix problems far faster than in the past.

Jeff Boyer, the new safety chief, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the company is looking at cases that were under review in its system and moving to resolve them as quickly as possible. GM, he says, has added 35 people to its recall review team.

"We're not waiting for warranty trends to develop over time," Boyer said. "It's not only about frequency, it has to be about the seriousness of the potential defect as well."

The largest of Thursday's recalls, covering more than 140,000 Chevrolet Malibu midsize cars from 2014, is an example of how GM is moving faster to issue recalls. The recall covers cars with 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines and stop-start technology that shuts off the engine at red lights.

GM says a software problem in the brake control computer can disable the power brakes. That means drivers would have to push the brakes harder to stop, and stopping distances would increase. Dealers will update the software at no cost to owners. GM will mail letters to owners starting around May 30.

GM found the problem while testing a new model that hasn't come out yet. The Malibu has a similar brake control system.

In the past, the company likely would have notified dealers that the Malibu could have a problem, but it would have waited for warranty claims and crash complaints to rise before issuing a recall.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 4 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 4 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 3 weeks ago )
Clinton kicks off 2016 campaign online, heads next to Iowa
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, making a much-awaited announcement she will again seek the White House with a promise to serve as the "champi...
7:56PM ( 3 weeks ago )
Hall, White, Jefferson schools recognized nationally for use of technology
Three school districts in northeast Georgia - Hall, White, and Jefferson - have received national recognition for their use use of innovative technologies. They earned top spots in the Center for Digital Education's and the National School Boards Association's 10th annual Digital School Districts Survey.
By Staff
1:00PM ( 3 weeks ago )
US Capitol lockdown lifted after man fatally shoots himself
WASHINGTON (AP) — A precautionary lockdown of the U.S. Capitol was lifted after about two hours Saturday following a suicide by a man carrying a protest sign.The man died after shooting himself on the...
6:15PM ( 3 weeks ago )