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GM to recall 1.3 million compacts for steering problem

General Motors said Monday night that it will recall 1.3 million of its compact cars to replace a motor in the power steering system. When the motor fails, the car is still safely steerable, the company said, but is harder to steer at lower speeds.

The vehicles subject to recall are:

  • The 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt.

  • The 2007-10 Pontiac G5, which has been discontinued.

  • The 2005-06 Pontiac Pursuit, which is the Canadian version of the G5.

  • The 2004-05 Pontiac G4, which is the Mexican version of the G5.

    GM said plans for the recall are being finalized and customers will be notified soon.

    GM began its investigation of steering problems in the vehicles last year and informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the recall on Monday. NHTSA began its own probe of some 905,000 Cobalts after getting more than 1,100 complaints about a loss of power steering. The complaints included 14 crashes and one injury, GM said.

    GM said that a drivers are now warned by a chime and a "power steering" visual message when the motor quits.

    "After our in-depth investigation, we found that this is a condition that takes time to develop. It tends to occur in older models out of warranty," Jamie Hresko, GM's vice president of quality, said in a statement. “Recalling these vehicles is the right thing to do for our customers' peace of mind. While greater steering effort under 15 mph may be required, these vehicles are safe to drive because the customer can still steer the vehicle,” Hresko said.

    Pontiac is one of the brands that GM has shed in its government-backed reorganization under bankruptcy protection. Unlike Saab, which GM was able to sell to a Scandinavian automaker, GM is allowing the Pontiac brand to simply die out.

    The same fate is about to befall GM's Hummer line. GM thought it had a Chinese buyer for the big truck line, but that deal fell through and the company now says it will close the brand. Also, a deal to sell GM's Saturn line to auto racing legend Roger Penske fell through, so that line was killed off.

    The inability of GM to successfully monetize its no-longer-wanted brands cost former chief executive Fritz Henderson his job. He was replaced by GM chairman Ed Whiteacre in December.

    GM's top rival, Toyota, has been beset by recall problems, bringing back 8 million vehicles since fall 2009 for acceleration and braking issues.

    I have had the power steering fail a couple of times on my 2004 Acura TL. (Yes, a couple of times. Long story.) The car is perfectly steerable, but it feels like it no longer has power steering at lower speeds. Because, well, it doesn't. In other words, the steering feels about the same when driving at highway speed, but it's extra-hard to parallel-park.

    Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

  • By Frank Ahrens  |  March 1, 2010; 10:58 PM ET
    Categories:  Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Chevrolet Cobalt recall, Chevy Cobalt recall, GM, GM recall, Pontiac G5 recall, Toyota recall update, toyota  
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    Comments

    When can we expect congressional blowhards to come before the cameras?

    Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | March 1, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse


    Notice how WaPo hacks bury this headline in tiny 6 point type at the bottom of the page, hoping you will not notice it. WaPo hacks in the bag for Barack Obama play 'bury the headline' again.

    1.3 Government Motors shìtboxes recalled and nary a peep from Congress.

    Posted by: screwjob11 | March 1, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

    You asked for it you got it... General Motors!

    Posted by: whocares666 | March 1, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

    the story reads, "GM began its investigation of steering problems in the vehicles *LAST YEAR* and informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the recall on Monday."

    --------------------

    wow.. don't you think when a major car companay (GENERAL MOTORS) has a steering problem issue affecteing 1.4 MILLION cars.... that they should have notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration EARLIER THAN AFTER MANY MONTHS???????

    gee. this sounds like GM is hiding data just like the japanese did...

    Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | March 2, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

    This is an example of how bad the MSM has become. This story is virtually buried; although Wapo is the first I've seen. Does the WH issue daily sheets to all of the editors and TV news producers to explain what the "approved" news should be?
    Looks more and more like creeping fascism.

    Posted by: apberusdisvet | March 2, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

    the headline reads, "GM to recall 1.3 million compacts for steering problems."

    ----------------------------

    shhhhhhhh.......

    this is an ameican car company. we don't want any controversy..

    shhhhhhh........

    Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | March 2, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

    Jamie Hresko, GM's vice president of quality reiterated tonight that these OVER MILLION CHEVROLETS are only suffering from STEERING PROBLEMS.

    jamie hresko said, "dang.. it's only steering problems. no biggie.. it's not like it was a recall for the FM radio.. *those* we took care of.. but the steering? we wanted to save 100 million dollars.. and we almost did too.. if it wasn't for old man barnes, those nosey teenagers, and that big dog.... :

    Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | March 2, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

    scooby doo says, "whrats wright!"

    Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | March 2, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

    Uh oh, the John Birchers posing as tea baggers are not going to like this.
    Another conspiracy theory bites the dust. Not to worry dear hearts, Uncle Glenn will have a new one tomorrow, LOL.

    Posted by: rkerg | March 2, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

    I take it this will be quietly hushed over since Government Motors could never be made to appear as if it was experiencing any problems since it is so much fun having Congress bashing Toyoto.

    Posted by: justmyvoice | March 2, 2010 1:36 AM | Report abuse

    So, the power steering pump could fail. I expect to start hearing from frantic people (and their lawyers) telling desperate tales like "suddenly my steering wheel stopped working, it seemed impossible to move, it was so heavy, that I drove 10 miles out of control and finally ran into another car!"

    Posted by: hitpoints | March 2, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

    This is an example of how bad the MSM has become. This story is virtually buried; although Wapo is the first I've seen. Does the WH issue daily sheets to all of the editors and TV news producers to explain what the "approved" news should be?
    Looks more and more like creeping fascism.

    Posted by: apberusdisvet | March 2, 2010 12:11 AM\

    ____________________________

    This story is also being covered on BBC's website and it's being covered as a top story.

    I guess the priorities are different.

    Posted by: cbmuzik | March 2, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

    Cue our Wise Solons to haul some GM execs before Congress for some Mr. Toyoda treatment. Oh wait, never mind. This is Government Motors, not Toyota.

    Posted by: TArbiter | March 2, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

    Move along, folks, nothing to see here. Move along.

    Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | March 2, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse


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    Posted by: nikejordans1 | March 2, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

    For those wishing ill on top-quality Toyota automobiles, this is a reminder that the UAW and its coconspirators at GM produce some of the most unsafe POS vehicles on the planet. Stop the schadenfreude on the highways!

    Posted by: axolotl | March 2, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

    Think GM will get the same coverage as Toyota did on our national news media. Think the Excs. of GM will be called before Congress. This isn't the only problem, there's more to come. Our tax dollars at work. Not!

    Posted by: morphylius | March 2, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

    This is an example of how bad the MSM has become. This story is virtually buried; although Wapo is the first I've seen.
    _____________________________

    The BBC is covering as a front page story.

    Posted by: cbmuzik | March 2, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

    Unless you produce only 12 cars a year, you can't run an automobile company and not have recalls.

    They all get hit sooner or later. They take turns.

    Posted by: uncivil | March 2, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

    Big Business is so much more quality driven than the Fed Gov. Yes Sir.
    We need to give more things/services to Big Business. They'll do it soooooooo much better than Uncle Sam.

    Posted by: uncivil | March 2, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

    I got rid of my 2008 GMC Acadia in January because You literally cannot turn the wheel. I bought it in 3 times, wrote GM, and they denied there was a problem. I found websites of other Acadia owners who had the same problems -- mechanics were warning them the car is too dangerous to drive. I showed the emails to the GM dealer and they finally admitted GM knew there was a problem, but have not and WILL NOT come up with a fix.

    GM Has a dangerous steering problem . It is being protected by the government.

    Posted by: Cornell1984 | March 2, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

    When will President and CEO Obama be called in to testify before the Senate for his company's screwup?

    Posted by: jahoby | March 2, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

    With all these recalls, doesn't it make you feel real good driving on the Beltway. You never know which vehicle behind, in front, or beside you is going to fail and take you with it.

    Posted by: mbrumble | March 2, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

    Meanwhile, GMAC's (Obama's boy) is getting the same huge salary and bonus as Goldman Sachs (also in cahoots with Obama)...

    Posted by: jahoby | March 2, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

    With all these recalls, doesn't it make you feel real good driving on the Beltway. You never know which vehicle behind, in front, or beside you is going to fail and take you with it.

    Posted by: mbrumble | March 2, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse


    PRESS RELEASE, General Motors - GM chairman Ed Whiteacre went before a Congressional subcommittee today who is doing preliminary inquiry to determine if a full blown investigation into the 1.4 MILLION General Motor vehicles with faulty steering boxes should be instigated.

    GM chairman Ed Whiteacre stated; "This is has all been blown out of proportion. There is absolutely no danger. Heck, if a power steering box does fail, the car can still be steered, albeit with just a little bit more force."

    GM chairmman Ed Whiteacre continued; "Why just this last weekened, before we revealed this problem which we have known about for 3 years, we conducted tests with men and women of all sizes in our crash test simulations. Every single person, except for the slightest build women, were able to drive their faulty Chevrolet Cobalts in a straight line using their feet instead of their hands, because as you know, there are stronger muscles in the legs than arms, thereby allowing you to steer one of these pieces of ****. So, we think that this recall should be ignored."

    When asked how Mister Whitacre got to the congressional investigation this morning, he said, he took a taxi, "What? You want *ME* to drive in one of those death trap Chevy Cobalts? Not on your life!"

    Film at 11

    Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | March 2, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

    Compare the tin can Cobalt or its older sibling the Cavalier with any Toyota out there and tell me who should be answering death trap questions in congress. What a joke!

    Posted by: Nobrun | March 2, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

    Ah despite the White House CZAR running OBAMA MOTORS orchestrating the public humiliation of TOYOTA; it is FORD who was the beneficiary---proving there is a god!

    Posted by: Common_Cents1 | March 2, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

    if you own a Crapalier, sorry I mean Colbolt, the power steering failing is the least of your worries. These things should have come with an apology in the glove box.

    Posted by: djrhood | March 2, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

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