The parade of recalls at General Motors will end someday, but not today.
The nation's largest automaker said it needed to recall 3.4 million cars to fix ignition switches that could let the key slip into the "off" position the same problem that led to 13 deaths in 2.6 million older models, and that GM said today had been linked to eight crashes and six injuries in the latest batch of vehicles.
The move, along with five other smaller recalls announced by the automaker, pushes the total number of vehicles its called back for safety defects since January to more than 20 million, and raises its estimated cost for the repairs to $2 billion, outside of any payments it may make in lawsuits or fines. (It was just last Friday that GM revealed it would recall every modern Camaro for similar issues.)
The new recall covers 3.4 million cars in North America built between the 2000 model year and now, although the only one still in production isn't sold to the public, but solely to rental and business fleets, the Chevy Impala Classic. Of that 3.4 million total, 3.16 million are in the United States. The models affected include:
2005-2009 Buick Lacrosse
2006-2014 Chevy Impala (previous-generation)
20002005 Cadillac Deville
20042011 Cadillac DTS
20062011 Buick Lucerne
20042005 Buick Regal
20062008 Chevy Monte Carlo
As with the Cobalt recall, GM says a heavy keychain or a jarring road bump can cause the key to switch off, which not only shuts off power steering and brakes but can deactivate the air bags. GM says it will add a new key slot or cover to avoid the problem, and advises owners to lighten their key rings until repairs can be made.
The five other recalls GM revealed today, none of which the company says have been linked to any injuries, include:
68,887 model year 2013-14 Cadillac ATS and 21,863 model year 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans for a loose shifter cable in automatic transmissions that could keep them in park.
57,192 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD and 2015 GMC Sierra 2500/3500 GMC Sierra HD heavy-duty pickups to inspect a power steering hose that could come loose, shutting off power steering and brakes.
16,932 model year 2011 Cadillac CTS sedans with all-wheel-drive, for a gasket on the rear driveshaft that could create a domino effect triggering deployment of the roof air bags. GM says it knows of 15 such cases, but isn't aware of injuries.
712 model year 2014 Chevrolet Corvettes with optional Competition Sport Seats, because an unbelted child or door trim may block the passenger seat side air bag vent in a crash. Dealers will replace the current air bag with a new version, and until then GM advises owners not to let children ride in their Vettes.
184 model year 2014-15 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups, for all-weather floor mats that could slip under the control pedals. GM will offer owners a full refund.
While the $2 billion in recall costs is massive, GM has the financial resources to absorb the blow, with $27 billion in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter. GM CEO Mary Barra has another appointment with congressional committees next week to provide an update on the company's actions, and the U.S. Department of Justice continues its own investigation as well.
Despite the bad news of the recalls and GM's own admission of its botched responses, the company's sales and revenues have not been measurably hurt to date although with 20 million vehicles already called back, there's a question of how much more GM's owners are willing to take