Defective ignition switches endanger GM customers
Since the 2002 model year, General Motors has sold cars that it knew contained defective ignition switches. Because of this defect, the key could slip from “On” or “Run” to “Acc” or “Off,” resulting in the engine shutting down, as well as loss of power steering and power to other vital systems, including antilock brakes and air bags.
A class action suit has been filed against GM seeking relief for owners of the estimated 1.5 million vehicles sold with these defective switches, including the following makes and model years:
- 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2006-2007 MY Chevrolet HHR
- 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice
- 2003-2007 MY Saturn Ion
- 2007 MY Saturn Sky
- 2005-2007 Pontiac G5
There is reason to believe that GM hasn’t disclosed other models sold with defective ignition switches.
Benjamin Bailey and Eric Snyder of Bailey & Glasser’s Charleston, West Virginia, office are among attorneys from multiple law firms across the nation representing the plaintiffs.
The defective ignition can put the vehicle’s owners in very dangerous situations. Drivers have reported sudden loss of engine power while traveling at interstate speeds. If the key slips to the “ACC” position, power steering and anti-lock brake functions can also be lost. Air bags may be disabled.
GM has acknowledged 12 deaths resulting from this defect, but independent safety investigators have found more than 300 deaths resulting from faulty ignition switches in just two of the models: the Saturn Ion and Chevrolet Cobalt.
The defect was revealed during 2001 preproduction tests of the 2003 Saturn Ion. According to an internal report, an ignition switch design change was believed to have solved the problem. But reports of the defect continued and the automaker began receiving complaints about incidents of sudden loss of engine power from customers.
In May 2005, GM engineers proposed redesigning the key head, but the company did not actually produce the new design until the 2010 model year.
Rather than go to the expense of redesigning the key or ignition, GM issued a service bulletin in 2005 advising customers to remove unessential items from their key chains (since heavy key chains were thought to exacerbate the problem.
Despite long awareness of this issue, GM did not recall any vehicles until 2014.
This class action lawsuit accuses GM of misrepresenting the safety, reliability and quality of the defective vehicles, failing to disclose important information to prospective buyers and disregarded the rights and safety of the buyers. The lawsuit seeks an order prohibiting further deceptive distribution, sales and lease practices and recovery of the ill-gotten profits from GM’s sale of the defective vehicles.
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