Injury Law Blog

Critics of Chevy Cobalt recall: Given what GM knew, far too late

The Chevrolet Cobalt was at one time a popular vehicle choice for many consumers across the country. Although General Motors discontinued the model in 2010, there are reportedly hundreds of thousands of Cobalts still on the road. California motorists are obviously driving a fair number of them.

Given the details emerging in recent media accounts concerning the Cobalt, the fact that many are still in service across the country would seem to be a sobering concern, with that assessment being buttressed by GM’s recent — and massive — recall of the car.

The stated reasons for the automaker’s move: Fatal car accidents have been linked to a faulty ignition switch in the Cobalt that has in some instances summarily turned the car off while it is engaged. That, in turn, shuts down its electrical systems, leaving a driver without power steering or brakes.

Tragically, too, it has left some drivers and passengers without working air bags. Six fatalities in a handful of crashes across the country have been linked to the faulty ignition switch.

General Motors is recalling more than 700,000 vehicles to remedy the defect. The company states that the vehicle’s disengagement can owe either to overly heavy key rings or heavy terrain that causes excessive vehicle jarring.

Many people applaud the recall, but criticism is withering regarding its timing. It is uncontested that GM already knew about the problem approximately 10 years ago and did nothing to address it.

That is flatly callous, say some commentators.

One critic is Joan Claybrook, the ex-chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Claybrook calls GM’s failure to quickly acknowledge the defect and take remedial action “an immoral act.”

We will keep readers timely informed concerning any material developments in this matter.

Source: CBS, “GM recalls Chevy Cobalt, other vehicles a decade after finding ignition-switch defect,” Jeff Glor, Feb. 20, 2014