Cross-posted from WSWS
On Thursday, General Motors issued a second recall notice on the 2.6 million compact cars it recalled in February and March because of a faulty ignition switch that has caused at least 13 deaths and 31 crashes. As in the case of the recalled ignition switches, GM knew of serious defects in the ignition lock cylinders in the same models for more than a decade, but failed to report the problem to federal regulators or recall the part until now.
The ignition problems involve small cars built by GM between the 2003 and 2011 model years, affecting the Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR, the Pontiac Solstice and GS, and the Saturn Ion and Sky.
The defective switch has resulted in numerous cases where the ignition shifted from "run" to "accessory" while the vehicle was being driven, suddenly cutting off the engine and the power steering and brakes, and incapacitating the air bags. While GM admits to 31 crashes and 13 deaths due to this defect, a study by a consumer group has concluded there were 303 fatal crashes between 2002 and 2012 involving Cobalts and Ions in which the air bags failed to deploy.
According to a statement issued by GM Thursday to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the faulty ignition lock cylinder -- a separate defect from the ignition switch problem -- can allow the ignition key to be removed while the engine is running, "leading to a possible rollaway, crash and occupant or pedestrian injuries."