General Motors (GM) has recalled another 1.5 million vehicles in three separate recalls to correct problems that could pose a threat to the safety of drivers and passengers of the affected models. The announcement comes just four weeks after GM started recalling millions of vehicles to correct defective ignition switches that have been blamed for several crashes and deaths in the past decade.
One of the newest recalls addresses a problem affecting the wiring harness of seat-mounted airbags and includes 1.18 million 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia vehicles, 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover SUVs, and 2008-2010 Saturn Outlook crossovers.
Another recall includes 303,000 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cargo and conversion vans from model years 2009 to 2014. GM is recalling those vehicles to repair the instrument panel material so that it will comply with regulatory standards for unbelted passengers.
The third recall affects 63,900 2013 and 2014 Cadillac XTS luxury sedans to repair brake booster corrosion that could create overheating and fire in the engine compartment.
None of the new GM recalls are directly related to the ignition switch recall, which has been linked to 12 deaths and 34 crashes since 2004. However, a recent analysis of federal crash data commissioned by the Center for Auto Safety found the defect contributed to at least 303 deaths in crashes involving airbag failure, which can happen when the key slips out of position in the faulty ignition switch, cutting off power to the engine, power steering, brakes, airbags, and other safety systems.
GM said the latest recalls were the result of a comprehensive internal safety review spurred by its ignition switch recall debacle. Court documents and other records show that the company has known about the ignition switch defect since as early as 2001, but failed to notify authorities and take the recall measures within the five-day time frame mandated by federal law.
GM’s handling of the ignition switch recall is the subject of civil and criminal investigations that could lead to millions of dollars in fines. GM has also launched its own internal probe and Congress has scheduled hearings about the recall for April.
In addition to the new recalls, GM also announced the appointment of a new Safety Chief whose first priority “will be to quickly identify and resolve product safety issues,” GM said in a statement.
“Jeff Boyer has been named to the newly created position of Vice President, Global Vehicle Safety, effective immediately,” GM said. “Boyer… will have global responsibility for the safety development of GM vehicle systems, confirmation and validation of safety performance, as well as post-sale safety activities, including recalls.”