More Product Recalls for GM; SUVs can catch fire

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Beleagured many recent product recalls, General Motors has issued yet another one. The latest GM recall involves power window switches in some SUVs. The defect in the power window switches can cause fires.

The defect is potentially so serious that owners of the SUVS have been instructed to park the vehicles outdoors rather than in garages until repairs have been made. Parts to repair the switches will not be available until October at the earliest. GM dealers have been ordered by the company not to sell any additional SUVS until repairs are completed.

Approximately 189,000 vehicles in North America are affected by the recall. Included in the product recalls are 2006 and 2007 model year Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainer, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X SUVs.

The problem was first recognized in 2012. At that time the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration began an investigation after receiving complaints from customers of fires in the power window switches in the driver’s side doors. Initially, GM notified owners of the SUVs informing them that water could get into the power window switches resulting in rust that could cause circuits to short out with resulting overheating and possible fires. GM extended warranties and offered service for vehicles that developed problems. Only cars in states where salt was used to clear roads in winter were included.

The NHTSA continued to investigate the issue. By the summer of 2012, 242 complaints, including 28 involving fires, had been received. The agency pressured GM to recall the vehicles. In August 2012, GM recalled 278,000 SUVS in “cold-weather” states and extended warranties for the rest of the country. Problems continued and GM’s initial fix for the issue failed. Switches that had been previously repairs malfunctioned.

In 2014, GM has issued 60 recalls – a record high, covering almost 29 million motor vehicles.

The product liability attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List remain committed to monitoring safety issues related to car design.