Business

GM adding 971,000 small cars to recall

GM CEO Mary Barra has apologized for the deaths linked to the defect and ordered an ‘‘unvarnished’’ investigation.

Carlos Osorio/Reuters

GM CEO Mary Barra has apologized for the deaths linked to the defect and ordered an ‘‘unvarnished’’ investigation.

DETROIT — General Motors is boosting by 971,000 the number of small cars being recalled worldwide for a defective ignition switch, saying cars from the model years 2008-2011 may have gotten the part as a replacement.

The latest move brings the total number of cars affected to 2.6 million. The questionable handling of the problem, including GM’s admission that it knew the switches were possibly defective as early as 2001, has embarrassed the nation’s largest automaker. The recalls — which are under investigation by Congress and federal regulators — have overshadowed the improved quality of GM’s newer cars.

Advertisement

The episode has also consumed the time and efforts of GM’s new CEO, Mary Barra, in her first few months on the job. Barra has apologized publicly for the deaths linked to the switch defect and ordered what she promises will be an ‘‘unvarnished’’ internal investigation of the matter.

GM previously announced the recall of 1.6 million cars, only through the 2007 model year, which were built with the faulty switch. The recall involves six cars: the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion, and Saturn Sky.

Get Business Headlines in your inbox:
The Globe's latest business headlines delivered every morning, Monday through Friday.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

GM says it sold 95,000 faulty switches to dealers and aftermarket wholesalers for use as replacement parts. Of those, 90,000 were used to repair vehicles from the 2003-2007 model years. But 5,000 of the switches were used to fix cars from the 2008-2011 model years.

GM said it doesn’t know which cars got those 5,000 switches, so it needs to recall all of them. Of the cars being added to the recall, 824,000 were sold in the United States.

The ignition switches can move out of the ‘‘run’’ position and cause the car’s engine to stall. It can also knock out power steering and power brakes, making the vehicle harder to maneuver, and disable the air bags. GM has said the defect is linked to at least 12 deaths in cars from the 2003-2007 models years. On Friday, the company said it isn’t aware of any fatalities connected to the defect in the 2008-2011 models.

Loading comments...
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.