General Motors Co. has recalled more than three-quarters of a million Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars to correct a potential ignition switch problem that could result in the engine and other components, including airbags, unintentionally turning off.
The company says that the weight of items on the driver’s key ring, road conditions, or jarring events could move the ignition switch out of position, turning off the engine and most of the car’s electrical components, Reuters reports. According to a company statement, GM is aware of five frontal-impact crashes and six front-seat fatalities in crashes where the front airbags did not deploy. These crashes occurred off road and at high speeds, according to a company spokesperson. In addition, GM is aware of 17 other crashes involving some type of frontal impact and nonfatal injuries where airbags did not deploy.
The 778,562 affected cars are Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 cars from model years 2005 through 2007. GM dealers will replace the ignition switch at no charge, but until the repair can be made, the company advises drivers to remove non-essential items from their key rings. Reuters reports that the ignition parts involved in the recall were made in Mexico, as shown in documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Most of the recalled cars, 619,122, are in the United States, with 153,310 in Canada, and 6,130 in Mexico. Reuters reports that GM no longer makes either car.