While for the year General Motors has so far exceeded all previous records when it comes to recalls, after it said it took a 180 degrees turn on safety, the company still fends off potential issues.
Even as the recalls issued to date have surpassed all previous records and look set to continue, with the company seemingly acting swiftly to address all possible safety hazards, there are still examples of the old strategy – where money meant more than potential life-threatening dangers.
One such example is the exception over close to 1.8 million pickups and sport-utility vehicles that have issues with rust on the brake lines. Just like it said back in February when first news came of the deadly ignition switch defect – linked so far to 16 deaths – the US automaker says the issue is not a safety problem and doesn’t require a recall.
Actually, GM says the rusty brake lines are affected by normal wear-and-tear, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been on a probe around the issue for four years and the defect caused more than 26 accidents, with three injuries.
“They seem to be doing a lot of recalls, but on closer investigation, you find they’re more hesitant to do the recalls that cost more money,” said Mark Modica, an associate fellow with the National Legal and Policy Center. “GM’s response has been quite callous.”
The affected vehicles are from the early 2000s and are long since out of warranty, but they include steel brake lines – which owners say they are hazardously rust prone – with potential failures without notice, which causes brake fluid to spill and in turn a dangerous, potentially catastrophic loss of braking power.