The History Behind The GM Ignition Recall For The Defective Switch

In February and March 2014, defective GM ignition parts forced a recall by the automotive manufacturer that covered about 2.5 million vehicles. At the time, it was considered a major move by the company, but this was just the first wave, as an additional 10 million vehicles were also flagged for safety reasons in June 2014. The problem is focused on defective ignition switches provided by one of the company’s suppliers, Delphi Automotive. During vehicle operation, these switches may suddenly shift into the accessory position, which disables the vehicle’s power steering, airbags and brakes. While the company has blamed the issue on heavy key rings and poor road conditions, the defect has already resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen people. Independent experts believe that there are many more people who have been affected by the flaw. What’s worse, it appears that the automotive giant knew about the defect years ago, and attempted to cover it up.


More than 15 of the company’s models have received defective switches, including the:

  • 1997-2005 Chevy Malibu
  • 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue
  • 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero
  • 2000-2005 Cadillac Deville
  • 2000-2008 Chevy Monte Carlo
  • 2000-2014 Chevy Impala
  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2004-2005 Buick Regal LS & GS
  • 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
  • 2004-2011 Cadillac DTS
  • 2005-2009 Buick Lacrosse
  • 2005-2010 Chevy Cobalt
  • 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2006-2011 Chevy HHR
  • 2006-2011 Buick Lucerne
  • 2007-2010 Pontiac G5
  • 2007-2010 Saturn Sky

If you have any of these vehicles, you may be at serious risk every time you get behind the wheel of your car.


Hundreds of lawsuits have already been filed against the company, alleging serious injuries, wrongful deaths, and damages due to product liability concerns. To win a product liability suit, the victim must show that their vehicle was defective, that the defect caused injury and that the defect could arise during safe and standard operation of the vehicle. Initial evidence shows that most of the suits filed against the company will likely meet these requirements.

The manufacturer is also in hot water after it admitted that it knew about the defect well before it took safety measures for its customers. Allegedly, the company was made aware of the flaw in 2001, when an internal report flagged the defect in a Saturn Ion. In 2004, one of the company’s engineers experienced the defect firsthand during a test drive. In 2005, company engineers went on the record to state that there was an inherent flaw in the switches. The manufacturer attempted to get dealers to handle the fixes on their end, even after this report, a practice that is only acceptable when there is not a safety issue present.

On November 1, the automotive manufacturer was dealt another blow when its switch supplier, Delphi, revealed e-mail correspondence between it and the company. In the correspondence, dated back to December 18, 2013, a GM representative sent an urgent request for 500,000 replacement parts. As this was months before a full recall, it further damages the manufacturer’s ability to defend itself. As a result, GM will likely pay out millions in settlements as more victims file suit against the company.