Under mounting scrutiny, General Motors Co announced new recalls of 1.5 million vehicles this week – with GM chief executive, Mary Barra acknowledging that the company was remiss in catching the flawed ignition switches. CEO says ‘terrible things happened”

“Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened,” Barra told employees in a video message posted online.

Barra apologized for GM’s failure to identify the faulty ignition switches sooner, noting that the company is conducting an intensive review of it’s internal processes.

Over the last few months, GM has recalled more than 3.1 million vehicles for faulty ignition switches and other issues.The latest recalls cover three separate issues across 1.5 million vehicles — among them 1.18 million Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia from model years 2008 to 2013; Chevrolet Traverse from model years 2009 to 2013; Saturn Outlook from model years 2008 to 2010 — recalled to repair the wiring harness of seat mounted air bags.

The company said that 12 people have died in accidents related to the defective ignition switch – though other data reveals that over 300 have been killed – a problem first observed by GM more than a decade ago. The delay in recalls has raised many troubling questions. Auto Dealers Want Faster Fix

According to various reports, the ignition switch can turn off while the vehicle is in motion – as the positioning of the ignition module allows a driver to easily bump a dangling key ring and jostle it out of place. This causes a sudden loss of power, which disables the airbags and power steering – potentially resulting in serious accidents and injury.

An initial ignition switch recall on Feb. 13 covered the Chevrolet Cobalt from model years 2005 to 2007 and Pontiac G5 from model year 2007. Two weeks later it was widened to include the Saturn Ion from model years 2003 to 2007, the Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky from model years 2006 to 2007. Other models affected are the 2005-06 Pontiac Pursuit sold in Canada and the 2007 Opel GT sold in Europe. The March recalls are related to a faulty wiring harness of seat mounted air bags and include 1.18 million Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia from model years 2008 to 2013; Chevrolet Traverse from model years 2009 to 2013 and Saturn Outlook from model years 2008 to 2010. The ignition switch recall has generated government criminal and civil investigations and hearings in Congress scheduled for April.

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