WASHINGTON (AFP) - General Motors on Monday recalled 3.4 million cars in North America to fix an ignition problem that could cause the car to lose power that is linked to injuries.
The bulk of the 2000 to 2014 model-year cars – 3.2 million – are in the United States, the largest US automaker said.
GM said that the ignition switch may move out of the “run” position if the key is carrying extra weight and is jarred, such as when the car hits a pothole or crosses railroad tracks.
Switching out of the “run” position affects power steering and power braking and could cause air bags not to deploy in a crash.
GM said it knows of eight crashes and six injuries related to this recall.
The company said the recall stems from its review of safety issues following its recall in February of 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars for ignition switch problems.
The cars covered in the newest recall are Buick Lacrosses, Chevrolet Impalas, Cadillac Devilles, Cadillac DTS, Buick Lucernes, Buick Regals, and Chevy Monte Carlos.
GM said addressing the problem would involve replacing existing ignition keys with new ones designed differently, or retooling existing keys.
“Until the rework or replacement is completed, owners of the recalled cars are urged to remove additional weight from their key chains and drive with only the ignition key,” GM said.
GM announced five other recalls for a total of 165,770 vehicles for a variety of problems, including with automatic transmissions and power steering.
The company said it knew of no crashes or injuries related to four of the conditions, but injury data was unclear for a problem that could cause the rollover sensor to unintentionally deploy the roof rail air bags, which happened on 15 occasions.
GM said it would take a charge of about US$700 million (S$875 million) for recall repairs in the second quarter, including the US$400 million provision it previously announced. That brings to US$2.0 billion the amount set aside for recall costs in the first half of the year.
GM has now recalled some 20 million vehicles this year in the US and foreign countries for safety problems.
The automaker is under congressional and, reportedly, Justice Department investigation over why it failed to act on the Cobalt ignition switch problem until this February despite knowing about it for more than 11 years.
That problem has been tied to dozens of accidents and at least 13 deaths, according to GM. Outside analysts have said the death toll could be much higher.
The company is facing multiple lawsuits for that problem, which analysts say could ultimately cost the company billions of dollars in damages.
GE chief executive Marry Barra will return to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for another congressional grilling before the oversight panel of the House of Representatives about the Cobalt recall scandal.