General Motors conducted a recall for the Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G6 just last week, despite knowing about the issue with cars way back in 2004.
The ignition switch is the issue, as it can inadvertently shut down the engine while driving, causing the car’s safety systems, such as airbags, to also lose power. At least one GM engineer knew about the issue after experiencing it while testing a brand-new 2005 Cobalt back in 2004, according to documents from a 2010 lawsuit.
In the recall last week, GM said that it knows about six deaths in five different accidents that were a result of the ignition switch issue.
In 2005, GM issued a technical service bulletin and created a snap-on key cover to try and help with the issue, and advised dealers to install the part if owners complained. However, the TSB did not specify that the clip-on cover be installed before the cars were sold. It also did not tell dealers to alert buyers to the issue.
The cover was simply an “improvement, it was not a fix to the issue,” Gary Altman, program engineering manager for Cobalt during its development, said in a deposition last June. Despite that, Altman said “I think that the insert should have been put into the cars, yes.”
[Source: USA Today]