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GM Recalls 1.3 Million Vehicles Over Power Steering Issue

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DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s another big recall for General Motors.

GM announced Monday that it will recall more than 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. that may experience a sudden loss of electric power steering assist.

If power steering assist is lost, a message displays on the Driver Information Center and a chime sounds to inform the driver. Steering control can be maintained because the vehicle will revert to manual steering, but greater driver effort would be required at low vehicle speeds, which could increase the risk of a crash.

The following models are included in the recall:

Chevrolet Malibu: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles
Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some 2006 model year
Chevrolet HHR (Non-Turbo): Some model year 2009 and 2010 vehicles
Chevrolet Cobalt: Some model year 2010 vehicles
Saturn Aura: Some model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles
Saturn ION: All model year 2004 to 2007 vehicles
Pontiac G6: All model year 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles
Service parts installed into certain vehicles before May 31, 2010 under a previous safety recall

Depending on the vehicle, GM will replace free of charge either the power steering motor, the steering column, the power steering motor control unit or a combination of the steering column and the power steering motor control unit. Customers who previously paid for repairs of these parts would be eligible for reimbursement.

In addition, 309,160 non-turbocharged Chevrolet HHRs from the 2006-2008 model years (and several hundred 2009 models) and 96,324 Saturn IONs from the 2003 model year that are not subject to these recalls will be given lifetime warranties for replacement of the electronic power steering motor.

“With these safety recalls and lifetime warranties, we are going after every car that might have this problem, and we are going to make it right,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president, GM Global Vehicle Safety. “We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough.”

This latest comes just one day before GM CEO Mary Barra is expected to testify before  a House subcommittee about what led to a recall of  2.6 million small cars because of an ignition switch problem blamed for 12 deaths.

“You know the, the impression with GM announcing big recalls almost very single day now, people think, ‘What’s the matter? You know? ‘The company’s falling apart!’ That’s not really what’s going on here,” said Automotive Analyst John McElroy.

“With Mary Barra testifying before the House tomorrow and the Senate on Wednesday, she’s gotta clear the decks,” he said. “The last thing she needs is some Congressman or Senator saying, ‘Hey, what about these other issues you haven’t dealt with.

“And that’s what we’re seeing GM do right now: Try to deal with everything,” McElroy said.

McElroy said they’ve recalled these same cars in the past for the very same problems.

“But now GM is saying, ‘We didn’t do enough. We have to go farther. That’s why they’re recalling everything,” he said.

GM expects to take a charge of up to approximately $750 million in the first quarter, primarily for the cost of recall-related repairs announced in the quarter. This amount includes a previously disclosed $300 million charge for three safety actions announced on March 17 and the ignition switch recall announced Feb. 25.

“GM will get through this,” McElroy said. “It’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to cost the company a lot of money, but this is not a knockout punch by any means.”

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