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 2008-11 might 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 are under investigation by Congress and federal regulators.
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: Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky.
General Motors announced two more recalls on March 28, bringing to 4.8 million the number of cars, trucks and SUVs the automaker has called back for repairs in the past month.
The string of recalls, topped by an ignition switch problem in compact cars now linked to 13 crash deaths, has embarrassed the company and sidetracked its new CEO, who started work just over two months ago. GM has admitted knowing about the switch problem a decade ago, yet it didn’t recall any cars until February. The recall delay has brought two congressional investigations and probes by the Justice Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Last week, GM announced it would recall 490,000 late-model pickups and SUVs because transmission oil cooling lines weren’t secured properly in their fittings. Transmission oil can leak from a fitting and hit hot surfaces, causing fires, the company said in a statement. GM said it knows of three fires and no injuries.
The recall affects Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks from the 2014 model year, along with 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs. All have six-speed automatic transmissions.
The Silverado is GM’s top-selling vehicle and an important profit center for the company. The GMC Sierra also is among GM’s top sellers.
Dealers will inspect the transmission oil cooling line fittings and make sure they’re securely seated, at no cost to owners.
Also Friday night, GM announced the recall of 172,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars because the right front axle shaft can fracture and separate while being driven. The recall affects cars from the 2013 and 2014 model years equipped with 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engines.
Dealers will replace the shafts free of charge.
The recall allows dealers to resume selling affected Cruzes. GM issued a stop sale order on the cars Thursday night.
The recall also covers about 2,500 replacement shafts used to fix manual transmission Cruzes that were recalled last September.