July 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm

GM replacing ignition switch kits with faulty tabs

General Motors Co. said Wednesday it is replacing 542 ignition switch kits that had a faulty tab and is adding a visual inspection at a Delphi Automotive plant in Mexico where the ignition switch parts are being built for the automaker.

Earlier this week, GM notified some dealers of the parts issue. GM spokesman Alan Adler said the parts were built on July 1 and had some broken tabs that are part of the anti-theft system — and don't impact vehicle safety. The parts had passed all other inspections.

Only some of the 542 parts made it to dealer hands — and none had been used to fix customer cars as part of its recall of 2.6 million vehicles. To ensure a similar issue doesn't develop, GM is adding a visual inspection to the ignition parts.

One New York state auto dealer said his Chevrolet dealership received notice from GM not to install two of 12 versions of kits it receives to fix the defective ignition switches and ignition lock cylinders. The dealer said the questioned parts do not meet GM’s specifications and the company is working to re-manufacture them.

GM says as of Monday it had fixed some 406,000 or more than 15 percent of the 2.6 million vehicles recalled; the ignition switch recall includes 2.19 million cars in the United States.

The automaker earlier this year recalled older Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other small cars for faulty ignition switches that can turn from the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” position while driving. That leads to the car losing power, power steering, power brakes and in a crash the air bags may not deploy.

GM has said it knows of 54 frontal impact crashes and 13 deaths tied to the defect.

GM’s recall completion rate is up from more than 296,000 repairs as of June 25. The company ran a promotion for U.S. dealers offering a $250 credit to an online gift store if they installed by Monday at least 90 percent of ignition switch replacements shipped to them in June. GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney told The Detroit News that the company wanted to encourage dealers to continue to do everything they could to get vehicles repaired as soon as possible.

The kits sent to dealers include the ignition switch and ignition lock cylinder. GM recalled the same population of vehicles in April for bad ignition lock cylinders because keys can come out of the slots with the engine running. That could cause the vehicle to roll away.

The company plans to have all ignition switches produced by October. Delphi is running multiple shifts seven days a week to produce parts. In late June, a GM spokesman said GM was completing final checks for the third production line at Delphi and it expected to “begin shipping very soon.”

mburden@detroitnews.com