Girardi | Keese

Slow repairs frustrate owners of recalled GM models

As we've discussed in earlier posts, the federal government has subjected General Motors to both intense scrutiny and withering criticism over its long-overdue recall of 2.6 million vehicles for defective ignition switches that have now been definitively linked to 54 car accidents and a minimum of 15 fatalities.

This scorn isn't just limited to lawmakers and government officials, however, as consumers are now expressing both dismay and disbelief over their inability to have their car's dangerous defect repaired in a timely manner.

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has indicated that GM is currently on pace to meet its projected deadline of having all 2.6 million vehicles fixed by October 4, more and more consumers are reporting frustration over the fact that local dealerships are chronically short on replacement ignition switches, meaning they are forced to continue to wait -- or drive their potentially defective cars as little as possible.

According to GM officials, part of the problem is that the ignition switch needed is for models no longer produced, such that supply will continue to outstrip demand until such time as production can be ramped up.

"There's a lot of dusting things off and rebuilding the supply chain," said a GM spokesperson. "And there's the fact that these switches have to be perfect. It takes time to make millions of them."

The good news for consumers is that two new production lines have been opened at the Mexico-based plant where the new ignition switches are being built and a third is scheduled to open soon.

Another issue contributing to the delay can be traced to the rather intricate installation required to fix the defect. Specifically, after installing the ignition switch and lock cylinder, technicians must then cut individual keys unique to each vehicle.

It will be interesting to see if GM is able to meets its October deadline and what steps the NHTSA will take if it appears this won't happen. In the meantime, owners of the recalled GM models should be aware that GM is providing the option of securing a rental car until the defect is fixed.

Stay tuned for updates ...

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights if you have lost a loved one in a car accident or suffered debilitating injuries that you believe can be attributed to a dangerous auto defect.

Source: The New York Times, "Car owners criticize pace of G.M. recall repairs," Rebecca Ruiz, June 17, 2014

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