GM issues small air bag recall

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

General Motors Co. said Tuesday it is recalling a handful — just five — 2013-14 Cadillac XTS and 2014 Chevrolet Impala cars because their air bags may have been accidentally deactivated.

It is at least the 68th recall this year for the Detroit automaker. GM said that in June it learned that the air bag light in a company-owned 2015 Cadillac XTS had illuminated. The recall of five vehicles is an example of major automakers issuing recalls even for tiny numbers of vehicles.

The lamp indicated that the car’s air bags and other supplemental inflatable restraints were disabled. After conducting an initial investigation, GM determined that the vehicle had been shipped from the assembly plant with its sensing and diagnostic module set to “manufacturing mode,” which prevents the bags from deflating accidentally while it’s being assembled.

After being assembled, all GM vehicles undergo a series of quality tests. At the conclusion of the process, the vehicle’s air bags are set to “consumer mode,” which arms the restraints. Dealers will reprogram the cars.

GM said on June 11, its assembly plants implemented procedures that require all reprogrammed vehicles to repeat the process to ensure air bags are in consumer mode.

No crashes or injuries have been reported in the latest recall.

The automaker has called back 26 million vehicles in the United States and 29.3 million worldwide this year.

On Saturday, GM said it was recalling 221,000 new Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala cars worldwide, because of problems with the parking brake that could cause a fire.

GM said the electronic parking brake’s piston actuation arm may not fully retract, which may cause the brake pads to stay partially engaged with the rotor. The light may not be on even though the parking brake is engaged.

The Justice Department is investigating GM’s handling of a delayed ignition switch recall of 2.6 million vehicle older Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other cars linked to at least 21 deaths. The Securities and Exchange Commission, 45 state attorneys general and Canadian officials are also investigating. GM paid a record-setting $35 million fine to NHTSA in May.