GM adds 971,000 small cars to recall list over defective ignition switch

DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors is boosting by 971,000 the number of small cars being recalled worldwide for a defective ignition switch, saying cars from the model years 2008-2011 may have gotten the part as a replacement.

The company previously announced the recall of 1.6 million cars, only through the 2007 model year, which were built with the faulty switch. The recall involves six cars: the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky.

GM says it sold 95,000 faulty switches to dealers and aftermarket wholesalers for use as replacement parts. Of those, 90,000 were used to repair vehicles from the 2003-2007 model years. But 5,000 of the switches were used to fix cars from the 2008-2011 model years.

GM said it doesn't know which cars got those 5,000 switches, so it needs to recall all of them. Of the cars being added to the recall, 824,000 were sold in the U.S.

The ignition switches can move out of the "run" position and cause the car's engine to stall. It can also knock out power steering and power brakes, making the vehicle harder to maneuver, and disable the air bags. GM has said the defect is linked to at least 12 deaths in cars from the 2003-2007 models years. On Friday, the company said it isn't aware of any fatalities connected to the defect in the 2008-2011 models.

"We are taking no chances with safety," GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.

GM has said that it expects to have replacement switches starting next month for the cars originally included in the recall. GM expects those repairs to be completed in October.

The company said owners of the cars added to the recall Friday will be contacted the week of April 21.

Until the recalls are performed, the company says drivers should remove everything but the key from their key chains, to avoid pulling the ignition switch out of the "run" position.

WHAT OWNERS SHOULD DO: GM dealers will replace the ignition switches for free. The company will contact owners when the switches are available, likely in April. After that, owners can make service appointments to have their switches replaced. GM says the cars are safe to drive as long as owners remove everything from their key chains except the key. But owners who don't want to drive the cars can request loaner cars from dealers until the repair is made.
 

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