One death has been linked to a massive recall announced Friday for General Motors Co. vehicles with faulty air-bag software.
GM said it is recalling 3.64 million 2014-17 model-year vehicles in the U.S. for a software issue that may prevent front air bags from deploying. The global recall includes nearly 4.3 million vehicles. The automaker said it is aware of one fatality and three injuries related to the safety defect.
The recall covers certain models of the 2014-2016 Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet SS and Spark EV; 2014-17 Chevrolet Corvette, Trax, Caprice PPV and Silverado 1500; 2014-17 Buick Encore; 2014-17 GMC Sierra 1500; 2015-17 Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado HD; 2015-17 GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Sierra HD; and 2015-17 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV.
The company said the sensing and diagnostic module, which controls air bag and seat belt pretensioner deployment, has a software defect that could prevent deployment of front air bags and pretensioners “in certain rare circumstances when a crash is preceded by a specific event impacting vehicle dynamics.”
“We consider the vehicles safe to drive,” GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said.
GM did not provide information on where or when the crashes occurred, or what vehicles were involved. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it did not have details on the crashes.
The carmaker told NHTSA that on May 17, a Speak Up for Safety report — a new safety procedure it implemented following its deadly ignition switch crisis — was filed relating to a crash of a 2014 Silverado truck in which the driver’s front air bag and seat belt pre-tensioner were alleged not to have deployed. The company opened an investigation in early June.
The sensing and diagnostic module, which controls the air bag and pretensioner, is supplied by Delphi Automotive.
The automaker in July and August worked with Delphi to investigate incidents involving similar vehicles and with similar allegations of non-deployment, including legal claims. GM also conducted road testing at its Milford Proving Ground in August; on Aug. 31, GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority opted to launch a recall.
Re-flashed software was added to all vehicles built after Aug. 24, GM told NHTSA.
The automaker will notify customers and dealers will update the software for free. Wilkinson said dealers have the software and that concerned customers should call their dealer to set up an appointment for repair.
Customers can use safercar.gov or GM’s website to check their Vehicle Identification Number to see if their vehicle is part of the recall.
The automaker was subject to another high-profile recall in 2014 of 2.59 million older cars. In those cars, the ignition switch could jostle out of position, causing the air bags not to deploy in crashes. That defect ultimately was linked to 124 deaths.
Several million GM vehicles also are subject to a recall of Takata air bags.
GM said the latest recall is not expected to be material in cost for the company and will be included in its third-quarter earnings. Those are expected to be released in October.
Delphi, in a regulatory filing Friday, said it cooperating with the recall. It said, “although we can provide no assurances, we do not expect that the cost, if any, of this recall would be material to our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.”
GM stock closed at $30.48 a share Friday, down nearly 3.9 percent. Delphi stock fell nearly 3.8 percent to close at $68.01 a share.
Staff writer Keith Laing contributed.