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GM Ramps Up To Fix Recalled Cars, Turns To Rental Companies For Loaners

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2006 Chevrolet HHR

2006 Chevrolet HHR

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General Motors [NYSE: GM] is ramping up its recall logistics ahead of efforts to remedy the recall of 1.6 million older GM vehicles for faulty ignition switches—by securing vehicles from some leading rental-car companies.

Under agreements entered with Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis, rental cars will be made available to GM, and provided to some owners of affected vehicles who'd rather not drive them until repairs are made.

Those repairs are expected to start on April 7, when the first round of replacement parts from the supplier, Delphi, are expected to arrive. It might take until October for the automaker to catch up on the issue, which affects 1.6 million vehicles from 2003-2007, including particular model years of the Saturn Ion, Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky.

The affected vehicles have ignition switches that might fail or inadvertently move out of the 'on' position while driving, potentially leading to the loss of power, airbag deployment, and assistance for the steering and brakes.

The issue of why GM waited so long to issue a recall for the issue is already the subject of investigations from Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And CEO Mary Barra will testify before a Congressional committee on April 1.

Earlier this week, in an effort to build trust, CEO Mary Barra delivered a video message to employees (and lawmakers and the public), and the automaker announced three additional recalls affecting another 1.6 million vehicles—including 2009-2014 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans; 2013 Cadillac XTS luxury sedans; and 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse, and 2008-2010 Saturn Outlook crossovers.

“I asked our team to redouble our efforts on our pending product reviews, bring them forward and resolve them quickly,” said Barra. “That is what today’s GM is all about.”

The move to reach for loaner cars outside its own dealerships' lots is quite unusual for any automaker—and it's likely a first for GM. GM earlier this week notes that it was expecting a charge of about $300 million for the first quarter for the recall, but if the automaker can get ahead of public opinion on this one, it could be money well spent.

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