Fri, 21 Feb 2014 10:15:00 EST
Well, this is not good for General Motors. Following a report last week that GM was recalling 778,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compacts over concerns that the ignition could switch out of the "run" position without warning, USA Today reports that the Detroit-based behemoth knew about the issue, which affected 2005 to 2007 Cobalts (the Cobalt shown above and in the gallery is from 2010) and 2007 Pontiac G5s, all the way back in 2004.
Tue, 29 Oct 2013 12:58:00 EST
The information comes from a deposition in a civil lawsuit against GM, obtained by USA Today, which claims that a GM engineer experienced the issue while the then-new model was undergoing testing. The issue was "solved" when a technical service bulletin was issued in 2005, informing dealers to install a snap-on key cover on the cars of customers who complained about the issue. According to the Cobalt's program engineering manager, Gary Altman, the cover was an "improvement, it was not a fix to the issue."
The case where the depositions were made was from 2010, and involved Brooke Melton, a 29-year-old pediatric nurse in Georgia who was killed on her birthday. At the time, police claimed she was going too fast on a wet, rural road, although it later came out through the black box that her car's ignition had come out of the "run" position at least three seconds before the accident (the max amount of time a black box records before a wreck), disabling her airbags, power steering and anti-lock brakes. According to USA Today, police said Melton was "traveling too fast for the roadway conditions," although it's impossible to know if she'd have been in the wreck, which injured the occupants of another vehicle, had her 2005 Chevy not shut off. GM settled the Melton family's case, although the details remain confidential.
How many people think Buick or GMC should have gotten the axe instead of Pontiac? You can't see it, but I'm raising my hand. Autoweek reports that former Vice Chairman of GM, Bob Lutz, has indicated that things didn't have to end up the way they did.
Thu, 10 May 2012 08:29:00 EST
"The Feds said, 'Yeah, how much money have you made on Pontiac in the last 10 years?' and the answer was, 'Nothing.'"
In a talk given at the Petersen Automotive Museum for the Inside the MotoMan Studio series, Lutz says "The Feds said, 'Yeah, how much money have you made on Pontiac in the last 10 years?' and the answer was, 'Nothing.' So, it goes. And when the guy who is handing you the check for $53 billion says, 'I don't want Pontiac, drop Pontiac or you don't get the money,' it doesn't take you very long to make up your mind." Lutz even added that the next-generation Pontiac G6 would have benefitted from the rear-wheel-drive platform of the Cadillac ATS. How awesome would that have been?
When General Motors put down several of its brands in recent years, it also let loose thousands of brand-loyal customers who will eventually need another car.
R.L. Polk Associates estimates there are more than 18 million cars from 16 discontinued makes on the road today. Those "orphan owners" have sales-hungry competitors seeing dollar signs. GM is offering Saturn owners $1,000 cash toward a Chevy Cruze, Cadillac CTS or a GMC Acadia. Ford is giving its Mercury lease customers a chance to get out of their contracts with no early-termination penalty and offering to waive six remaining payments if they drive off in a Ford or Lincoln.
Edmunds.com research shows the efforts are paying off somewhat for GM, with 39 percent of Pontiac owners, 37 percent of Hummer owners and 31 percent of Saturn owners taking delivery of another GM-branded vehicle. But that leaves as much as 69 percent of owners going elsewhere. Ford, Honda and Toyota seem to be attracting many former GM owners.