General Motors is recalling 778,562 Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles in North America, model years 2005 through 2007. In a statement the automaker released Feb. 13, the recall is due to a malfunction that could affect airbag deployment and the vehicles ignition.
GM noted that the malfunction could be triggered by variables as slight as bumpy terrain or a heavy key chain, in which case the ignition is switched off and other electrical components fail.
Airbag non-deployment was a factor in five frontal-impact crashes and six front-seat fatalities in the affected vehicles, and a GM spokesperson confirmed the company was aware of this fact. It is possible that alcohol and seat belt use played a role in these instances, but because all of these accidents occurred at high speeds and off the road, the likelihood of serious injury and death is was high. Despite this, the consequences of these auto accidents were no doubt worsened when airbags that should have been deployed do not function.
In addition, 17 other crashes that GM is aware of involved frontal impact and airbag failure. The company acknowledged that the ignition switch torque may not be up the GM stands of performance. Although dealers have been instructed to replace the faulty parts at no cost to the consumer, GM has suggested drivers remove any nonessential items from their key chains until they are able to get the necessary repairs.
Documents filed with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration show that the faulty parts were made in Mexico, and that the affected vehicles have been distributed within that country (6,130 vehicles,) the U.S. (619,122 vehicles,) and Canada (153,310 vehicles.)
GM no longer manufactures either car. The recalled Chevy Cobalts are from model years 2005, 2006 and 2007, while the Pontiac G5 recall will affect only model year 2007 vehicles.