General Motors Co. issued three new recalls Monday, separate from the controversial action of recalling 1.6 million small cars that may have defective ignition switches linked to 12 deaths.
Also on Monday, GM CEO Mary T. Barra told employees that “something went very wrong” in the company’s decadelong failure to recall the 1.6 million vehicles.
In a video message, Barra said the automaker was moving aggressively to produce new parts for the affected vehicles, and she vowed to change GM’s internal procedures to prevent delays in future recalls.
“Something went very wrong in our processes in this instance, and terrible things happened,” Barra said in the video.
Barra said the company was cooperating with a wide series of investigations, including those by federal regulators, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York and two congressional committees.
GM has come under intense pressure to explain why it took years to address problems with ignition switches that could cut off engine power and disable air bags in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars.
The company announced an initial recall of 778,000 vehicles Feb. 13 and then expanded it to 1.62 million later in the month. In chronologies submitted to federal regulators, the company said it first knew of flaws in its ignition switches as far back as 2001.
The video, which GM made public on a company website, was released as GM was announcing three additional recalls covering about 1.5 million vehicles Monday. The new recalls cover the following models:
• About 303,000 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana from model years 2009-2014 that will receive new material on the instrument panel to meet federal standards for protecting unbelted passengers
• About 63,900 Cadillac XTS models from 2013 and 2014 to be repaired to prevent possible brake booster corrosion that may result in overheating and possibly fires.
• About 1.18 million 2008-2009 and all 2010-2013 Buick Enclaves and GMC Acadias, some 2009 and all 2010-2013 Chevrolet Traverses, and some 2008-2009 and all 2010 Saturn Outlooks to repair the wiring harness of seat-mounted side airbags.
“I asked our team to redouble our efforts on our pending product reviews, bring them forward and resolve them quickly,” Barra said.
The midsize crossovers are equipped with a “service air bag” warning light on the instrument cluster. Drivers who ignore the light for a certain period will effectively disable the side-impact restraint system from deploying, including seat-mounted side air bags, front center air bag and seat belt pretensioners.
To repair the condition, dealers will remove the driver and passenger side air bag wiring harness connectors and splice and solder the wires together.
The full-size vans weighing 10,000 pounds (gross vehicle weight) or less do not comply with a head impact requirement for unrestrained occupants, requiring a rework of the passenger instrument panel material.
Unsold vehicles have been placed on a stop delivery until development of the solution has been completed and parts are available. Customers will be notified at that time. Repairs will be made at no charge to customers.
In the XTS, a brake booster pump can create positive pressure within the wiring harness attached to the pump relay. This pressure can lead to the dislodging of a plug in the brake booster pump relay, allowing corrosive elements to enter the connector and form a low-resistance short that could lead to overheating, melting of plastic components and a possible engine compartment fire. GM is aware of two engine compartment fires in unsold vehicles at dealerships and two cases of melted components.
GM expects to take a charge of approximately $300 million in the first quarter primarily for the cost of the repairs for the three safety actions and the previously announced ignition switch recall.
The automaker is facing four investigations over the timeliness of its reporting to federal safety regulators reports of crashes or deaths that may have been caused by defective ignition switches on 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac G5s, 2003-07 Saturn Ions, 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR SUVs and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars.
This report contains material from the New York Times.