Is GM Using Recalls to Drive Showroom Traffic?

GM recallIs General Motors trying to make lemonade out of lemons? In the case of the company’s recent string of lemon recalls, there seems to be a strategy to increase showroom traffic by issuing recalls for only those vehicles which do not require high costs to repair. GM CEO, Mary Barra, gave a hint at this strategy during last quarter’s earnings conference call.

Following is an excerpt from a transcript of GM’s April conference call Q & A session:

Adam Jonas – Morgan Stanley

Thanks. Good morning, everybody. First question is a two-part question. First, on the recall, 7 million units (recalled) obviously creates an enormous amount of showroom traffic and an opportunity to convert that traffic into new sales. So could you outline, perhaps, how successful have you been so far in getting folks coming in and holding the hand and obviously helping them with a real issue, but also

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Subaru Recall Weakens GM Defense that Brake Line Rust is Maintenance Issue

Subaru last week announced a second recall for vehicles which are prone to brake line corrosion in “salt belt” states. This latest recall follows a 2013 recall for the same issue, which can cause brake failure from burst brake lines due to rust. As Subaru does the right thing by consumers and motorists regarding the safety concern, General Motors continues to claim that brake line rust is a normal maintenance issue and refuses to recall its vehicles with the same problem.

The Subaru recall weakens GM’s defense that rusting brake lines do not need to be addressed by manufacturers and owners should bear the costs and responsibility to replace rusted brake lines. As with GM’s models, the Subaru models affected are prone to rust after six or seven winters. In the case of GM models, the company has far more complaints of brake line rust than any other manufacturer, as Read More ➡

NHTSA Lists 1,895 Complaints for GM Brake Lines, GM Denies Problem

bake line rustGeneral Motors continues to deny that there is a problem with rusting brake lines on its vehicles, as noted here yesterday. GM’s new Vice President of Global Safety, Jeffrey Boyer, claims that brake line rust “is a maintenance issue that affects the entire automotive industry.” However, a search of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website shows that GM vehicles have about ten times the complaints for brake lines than Ford, Toyota and Honda combined!

NHTSA has a tool to allow searches for complaints by keyword. While there is an ongoing NHTSA investigation on model year 1999 to 2003 GM trucks, the investigation has never been expanded to include newer models which also seem to be plagued by brake line corrosion which leads to brake failure. Here are the figures from a NHTSA complaint search using the keywords “brake line.”

Chevrolet models, model years 1999-2008: 1,372 complaints.

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Subaru Recalled Vehicles With Brake Line Corrosion; GM Should, Too

General Motors has still yet to acknowledge that it has a problem with brake lines that are subject to rust on many of its vehicles. Model year 1999 through 2003 trucks, primarily the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, are currently under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and multiple complaints have come in for newer models up to model year 2007. It has now been about a month since we notified GM and NHTSA of the issue and requested a recall of vehicles that are putting motorists in harm’s way. I now suggest that GM look at how Subaru handled a similar issue with its vehicles so that this serious safety issue gets resolved.

It is not debatable that GM has far more complaints than any other manufacturer for brake failure from brake lines that burst due to corrosion. Whether you do a Google search on the … Read More ➡

GM CEO Mary Barra Ignores Brake Corrosion Safety Issue

Barra photoWell, it looks like New GM is not much different than Old GM when it comes to addressing serious safety issues on its vehicles. The Associated Press reports that General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, claims that GM has not turned up any other major safety issues. I guess Ms. Barra feels that two tons of steel traveling at high speeds with brake lines that can burst at any moment is nothing to be concerned about. The continued denial by GM that there is no safety issue with their trucks that are prone to brake line corrosion proves that the company has a long way to go before they change a culture that puts profits ahead of motorists’ safety.

Last month we sent a letter to GM and Ms. Barra requesting that GM trucks that are prone to brake line rust be recalled. The problems plague Chevy Silverados, GMC Sierras … Read More ➡

GM Internal Investigation Does Not Absolve Management of Criminality

Brooke's carThe long-awaited General Motors recall report, which was compiled by attorneys with longstanding and lucrative ties to the company, has been released with few surprises. GM-hired attorneys claim that no high-level executives at the company were responsible for the deadly ignition switch recall delay that cost at least 13 people their lives. The report does nothing to vindicate GM. The company’s management must be investigated by the Justice Department.

The legal team responsible for the “investigation” was headed by Jenner and Block chairman, Anton Valukas. While Mr. Valukas is most often described as a former federal prosecutor by the media, the fact that Jenner and Block are long-time cronies of GM is not often mentioned. The company served as lead counsel for GM during its $15.8 billion IPO. Two former top GM attorneys were also partners at Jenner and Block, as reported by Reuters.

The fact that GM’s current … Read More ➡

Must Someone Die Before GM Recalls Trucks with Rusting Brake Lines?

Mary BarraIt has now been more than two weeks since we sent a letter to General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, requesting a recall for vehicles (primarily Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras) that have thousands of complaints regarding brake line corrosion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has had an ongoing investigation for GM truck model years 1999 through 2003. Considering that new research has discovered newer model trucks with the same problem, just what are GM and NHTSA waiting for to recall these dangerous vehicles?

There have not been any reported deaths attributed to brake failure resulting from corroded brake lines; not yet. But serious injury or death will certainly be the result (if it has not already happened) if these defective vehicles are not taken off the roads.

GM’s initial response to complaints of rusted brake lines that cause drivers to lose braking ability has been … Read More ➡

GM Rusted Brake Line Problem Also Plagues Newer Models

GM brake linesNLPC is requesting that General Motors recall vehicles with a dangerous rusted brake line defect. The request is based on a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation of GM trucks for model years 1999 to 2003 that included Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras. We are also asking NHTSA to order a recall without further delay.

Further investigation finds that NHTSA has received many additional complaints for newer model GM trucks that appear to be afflicted with the same defect.

A search of NHTSA’s website found 112 complaints of corroded brake lines for model year 2006 Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras. It stands to reason that there are many more complaints for model years 2004 and 2005. In fact, I counted 240 complaints for corroded brake lines for the 2004 Chevy Silverado before calling it quits and realizing that there are more than enough documented cases to warrant an … Read More ➡

GM Resists Brake Corrosion Recall; Trots Out Controversial Spokesman

Alan AdlerGM’s initial response to our request yesterday for a recall of vehicles with a brake corrosion problem is completely unacceptable. It was contained in a Detroit News article about our call for the carmaker to recall 6 million pickups and SUVs that are the subject of an open investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

GM spokesman Alan Adler, in photo, claimed that the brake corrosion problem is industry-wide, and suggested it was a normal wear-and-tear issue. He told the News:

The trucks in question are long out of factory warranty and owners manuals urge customers to have their brake lines inspected the same way brake pads need replacement for wear. In fact, more than 20 states require brake-line inspections at one- or two-year intervals or when stopped for a violation.

Adler is the same GM spokesman who made outrageous and inaccurate claims when the ignition switch … Read More ➡

Another NHTSA GM Investigation – Chevy Silverados with Rusted Brakes

Silverado rusted brakesIt looks like there is yet another problem with GM vehicles that has been left unresolved. Chevy Silverados and other GM vehicles are being investigated for brake line corrosion by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA reports 890 complaints for brake failure resulting from “brake pipe corrosion.”

Following is an excerpt from the NHTSA website regarding the investigation:

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received Defect Petition DP10-003 on March 2, 2010, requesting the investigation of model year (MY) 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4WD pickup trucks for corrosion failures of the vehicle brake lines. DP10-003 was granted and on March 30, 2010, Preliminary Evaluation PE10-010 was opened on more than six million model year 1999 through 2003 light trucks and sport utility vehicles manufactured and sold by General Motors Corporation (GM)…

…Of the 890 total complaints for brake pipe corrosion identified, 761 were located in Salt Belt states

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