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Problem ignition switch results in GM recall of compact cars 

A new recall has recently been announced by General Motors that may impact motorists in Ohio and across the country. Faulty ignition switches that have been linked to accidents are the reason for the recall.

A total of 778,562 Chevrolet Cobalts from model years 2005 thru 2007 as well as 2007 Pontiac G5s are involved. GM says that the ignition switches may turn off unexpectedly, primarily in two different scenarios. First, the switch failure may occur when the vehicle is subjected to a sudden jarring motion. Second, ignition keys attached to key rings made heavier by numerous keys or other items may pull the ignition key from the 'run' position to the 'off' or 'accessory' position. Whatever the cause, an ignition switch that gets turned off unexpectedly would cause a loss of engine power. That, in turn, also cuts hydraulics to power steering and braking systems. GM also warns that air bag deployment may be affected.

The American automaker states that six deaths have been linked to ignition switch failures thus far. It says that it is specifically aware of 22 accidents involving ignition switch problems in the aforementioned vehicles. GM says that the switches involved in the recall may not have been produced according to the specifications that were required.

Although General Motors is now set to replace the ignition switches in the recalled automobiles, some current owners may be hard to identify. It is believed that many of the G5s and Cobalts may now be in the hands of their second, third or even fourth owners. Buyers of used vehicles often do not register with the manufacturer at the time of purchase.

Automakers can face product liability lawsuits when they sell vehicles containing defective parts. Specifically, a wrongful death lawsuit is sometimes filed by survivors of a family member who may have died due to an alleged failure of a vehicle component.

Source: USA Today, "6 killed in GM cars with faulty ignition switches", James R. Healey, February 14, 2014

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