GM: Company Knew of Issue With Ignition Switch Years Earlier

Credit: MGN Online

Credit: MGN Online

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — General Motors knew of an issue with its ignition switch several years before it had previously acknowledged.

The company said in a federal filing Wednesday that it discovered an issue with the Saturn Ion ignition switch in 2001 during pre-production development. General Motors has previously said it first learned of ignition switch issues in 2004.

The document said a 2001 internal GM report noted “an ignition switch design change had solved the problem.”

It wasn’t clear from the document if the issue discovered in 2001 was related to the issue that led to the recently announced recall of 1.4 million cars in North America. The issue cited in the recall has been linked to at least 12 deaths. GM had originally reported at least 13 deaths, but revised that number after determining that one of the deaths had been counted twice.

GM said late Wednesday it has been conducting “a more in-depth analysis of the information related to the vehicles” it recalled.

“Today’s GM is fully committed to learning from the past while embracing the highest standards for quality and performance now and in the future,” said spokesman Alan Adler.

The issue behind the recall involves ignition switches that can be bumped out of the “Run” position into the “Off” or “Accessory” position. That can cause power braking and steering, as well as airbags, to stop working.

In 2004, a General Motors engineer accidentally knocked a vehicle out of “Run” while driving.

Federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into the recall, as have members of Congress.

The recall includes the Saturn Ion and Sky, as well as the Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR and the Pontiac G5 and Solstice.

–CNNMoney’s Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this report

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

3 comments

  • Branko Pezdi

    GM:
    Government Motors
    Generally Malfunctions
    Great Mess
    General Malpractice
    Got Me

    SATURN:
    Same American Trash Under Revised Name

    PONTIAC:
    Plan On Numerous Trips In Another Car

    CHEVY:
    Cheapest Heap Ever Visualized Yet
    Crap Hasn’t EVolved Yet

    Q: What goes on pages 4-5 of the Opel user’s manual?
    A: The train and bus schedule.

    Q: How do you double the value of an Opel?
    A: Half fill it with gas.

  • tmcabee

    After my parents wreck in 2007, we discovered that car companies sometimes decide to “pay the losses” when they find out their vehicles have defeciences. My parents car flipped end over end several times due to a weak spindle. The car manufacture was aware of this deficiency as well as its failure to meet specs in crash tests. These specs limit the amount of “cave-in” a car should have if it were in a wreck. This particular make and model failed those tests. The company decided instead of fixing it by installing a stronger body frame/cage they would just “pay the losses”. In other words, if they get sued cause of death or injury…well, you’re the loss they are going to pay off. By God’s many miracles my parents are still alive, but many heartaches could have been avoided. My mother’s health insurance was exhausted not far into her hospitalization. We had to pursue the car company. After years of mediation, etc we just broke even with our medical bills.

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