August 8, 2014 at 1:00 am

GM adds 6 recalls to record this year; largest is for Saturn VUE

Washington — General Motors Co. said Friday it is issuing six new recalls, covering more than 312,000 vehicles worldwide. It raises this year’s total to a record 66 recall campaigns.

Some of the recalls require dealers to stop selling the vehicles until they’re fixed.

The largest callback is for 202,115 2002-2004 Saturn VUEs in the U.S. (215,243 globally) that have ignition keys that may be able to be removed from the ignition switch while it is not in the “off” position. GM is aware of two crashes and one injury that could be related to the issue.

The automaker has now recalled more than 16.45 million vehicles for ignition switch-related problems this year. After issuing a recall for defective ignition switches on Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions early this year linked to 54 crashes and 13 deaths, GM conducted a companywide review of all ignition switches and related parts and an “exhaustive” review of all company’s vehicles.

If necessary, dealers will replace the Saturn VUE’s ignition cylinder and key set. Until repairs have are complete, GM is telling customers to make sure the vehicles are in “park” before getting out — or in the case of a manual transmission, to put the transmission into reverse with the parking brake set.

Other recalls announced Friday:

■48,059 2013 Cadillac ATS four-door sedans and 2013 Buick Encores in the U.S. The recall also includes Chevrolet Trax SUVs sold in Canada; global recall figures total 72,826. In some of these car, GM says front outboard lap-belt pretensioner cables will retract upon deployment to tighten seat belts, but may not lock. As a result, passengers may move more in certain accidents. Dealers will replace the pretensioners.

GM is not aware of crashes or injuries as a result of this issue, which was discovered during crash-testing. A stop-sale is in effect for unsold cars at dealerships until repairs are made.

■14,940 2014-2015 Chevrolet Impala sedans sold in the U.S. and a total of 15,386 globally. On some LT and LTZ models equipped with a front console storage compartment, the latch on the compartment door may not lock in a rear collision and the compartment door may open. Dealers will replace the latch. Dealers must hold unsold models until repairs can be made. GM said it knows of no associated crashes or injuries.

■1,968 2009-2010 Chevrolet Aveo and 2009 Pontiac G3 (2,091 globally)because brake fluid may not protect against corrosion and could lead to poor braking. This was originally a customer satisfaction program issued in 2012 and has been reclassified as a safety recall. GM fixed about two-thirds of the vehicles under the earlier program; the recall for the 1,968 cars is for the one-third of cars that weren’t fixed. GM knows of no associated crashes or injuries.

■1,919 2014 Chevrolet Spark models in the U.S. (3,110 globally)for suspension problems. The lower control arm attaching bolts may not be tightened to specification. GM has informed owners to have cars transported to dealerships. GM knows of no associated crashes or injuries.

■3,624 models of the 2013-2014 Cadillac ATS for front exterior lighting issues outside the United States.

So far this year, GM has recalled 25.8 million vehicles in the United States and 29.08 million worldwide. Automakers combined have recalled more than 43 million vehicles; the prior record was 30.8 million vehicles in 2004.

In May, GM paid a $35 million fine to NHTSA for delaying for more than a decade its callback of the 2.6 million cars with defective ignition switches. GM is also under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, aided by a grand jury, the Securities and Exchange Commission and 45 state attorneys general.

GM has launched a victims compensation fund and expects to pay at least $400 million for claims. About 125 claims have been filed since Aug. 1, including about 65 death claims and about 10 for catastrophic injuries such as brain injuries. Fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg will determine whether those who filed claims are eligible to receive payments.

dshepardson@detroitnews.com
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