Last Wednesday, December 31, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed General Motors' final recall for 2014. Affecting more than 92,000 Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicles around the globe, the recall pushes GM's total recalls for 2014 north of the 30.4 million mark.
2014 IN REVIEW
Last year got off to a quiet start, especially at GM. The automaker was celebrating the end of its four-and-a-half year bailout (thanks to the federal government's sell-off of remaining GM shares). The company had also announced the arrival of a new CEO: Mary Barra, a longtime GM employee and the first woman to occupy the top spot at a major automaker.
Then, February arrived, and with it, Switchgate. GM recalled nearly 780,000 older vehicles to fix dodgy ignition switches. Two weeks later, the automaker added 588,000 more cars to the list. New troubles kept popping up, like the fact that some at GM knew about the faulty switches as far back as 2001, yet no recalls had been issued before 2014.
Ultimately, a host of people were called to testify before Congress -- including Barra herself -- which led to a lot of soul-searching, an intense internal investigation, and a system for consumers to file complaints against GM. Last we checked, the claims were still rolling in.
Over the weekend, GM posted what could be its final list of recalls for 2014. As you'll see from the chart above, the automaker recalled 30,433,365 vehicles between January 1 and December 31, with 26,951,675 of them registered in the U.S.
What's interesting, though, is that greater numbers of recalls weren't just a trend at GM. Automakers from Detroit and around the globe were sending notices left and right -- perhaps because of the added public scrutiny brought on by the GM Switchgate scandal. Whatever the cause, though, 2014 is now unofficially known as the Year of the Recall.
GM's final recall of 2014 involves a range of Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC trucks and SUVs from the 2011 and 2012 model years. Given the Switchgate fiasco that dogged the automaker earlier in 2014, it's perhaps fitting that GM's last recall of the year also stems from a problem with ignition systems.
Specifically, NHTSA says that the problem lies in the ignition lock actuator, which can bind, "making turning the key difficult or causing the ignition to get stuck in the 'Start' position". If the latter happens, NHTSA reports that the key may snap back to the "Accessory" position while the vehicle is in motion, causing the engine to shut off and cutting power to the brakes and steering wheel.
That, in turn, makes the affected vehicles more difficult to steer, increasing the risk of a crash. Worse, with the key in the "Accessory" position, airbags may be disabled, increasing the risk of injury during an accident.
The recall affects the following GM vehicles from the 2011 and 2012 models years:
- Cadillac Escalade
- Cadillac Escalade ESV
- Cadillac Escalade EXT
- Chevrolet Avalanche
- Chevrolet Silverado HD
- Chevrolet Silverado LD
- Chevrolet Suburban
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- GMC Sierra LD
- GMC Sierra HD
- GMC Yukon
- GMC Yukon XL
All told, the recall affects 92,221 vehicles, 83,572 of which are registered in the U.S.
GM hasn't yet indicated when it will begin sending out recall notices, but when it does, owners will be able to take their vehicles to the appropriate Cadillac, Chevrolet, or GMC dealer, who will replace the ignition lock housing as necessary, at no charge.
If you own one of the vehicles listed above and have questions, you're encouraged to contact GM customer service at 800-458-8006 (Cadillac), 800-222-1020 (Chevrolet), or 800-462-8782 (GMC) and ask about recall #14696. If you prefer, you can also ring NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and inquire about safety campaign #14V827000.