General Motors adds new fix to ignition recalls

General Motors is adding an additional repair to its recall of more than a million vehicles that had dangerous ignition and power-steering flaws, the company said Thursday.

The new fix is for ignition lock cylinders on older GM models, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and the Saturn Ion, that the company has come under fire for failing to recall until February of this year.

The recalled cars were found to abruptly shut off or have their airbags disabled if drivers’ key chains were too heavy. The cars were mostly made between 2004 and 2010.

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GM said the newly recalled ignition lock cylinders “can allow removal of the ignition key while the engine is running, leading to a possible rollaway, crash and occupant or pedestrian injuries.”

The beleaguered auto company said it is “aware of several hundred complaints of keys coming out of ignitions."

“Searches of GM and government databases found one rollaway in a parking lot that resulted in a crash and one injury claim,” the company said. “The same searches turned up no fatalities. GM has decided to replace the ignition lock cylinders and cut and, if necessary, reprogram new keys.”

Lawmakers and regulators have sharply criticized GM, alleging the company purposely delayed recalls of cars that are in some cases 10 years old because it did not want to pay for repairs.

The recalled GM parts have been linked to accidents that have caused 13 deaths since 2005.

GM chief executive Mary Barra said during a pair of contentious congressional hearings last week that she was “deeply sorry” for delay in recalling dangerous vehicles.

Barra, who is in her first year at the helm of the automaker, promised lawmakers that she would create a “new GM” that would place a greater priority on safety.

Lawmakers in both parties were skeptical, lambasting Barra’s attempts to separate herself from decisions that were made by prior GM leaders because she is a long-term employee of the company. Barra, who described herself as a “second-generation GM employee” last week, has worked for the Detroit-based automaker for 33 years.

GM said Thursday that the widespread recalls of its older models are expected to cost the company $1.3 billion this year.