Toyota (NYSE:TM) made waves on Wednesday when it announced a recall of 1.9 million Prius models for a software update, but General Motors (NYSE:GM) is close behind, as it issued a 778,562-model strong recall on Thursday, citing ignition issues.
The recall, which is contained to North America, covers the older-model Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars and addresses the potential allowing the engine and other components — including airbags — to be unintentionally turned off unexpectedly.
For cars falling in the 2005-2007 model years, “the weight on the key ring, road conditions or some other jarring event may cause the ignition switch to move out of the run position, turning off the engine and most of the car’s electrical components,” Reuters reports, citing General Motors’ press statement.
General Motors says it’s aware of five frontal-impact crashes and six front-seat fatalities as a result of crashes in which the front airbags did not deploy, though a spokesman acknowledged that all of the accidents happened off road and at high speeds, in which the probability of serious or fatal injuries was high even in the even of airbag deployment. He added that some cases, the occupants were not wearing seat belts and alcohol was a factor in the crash, according to Reuters.
The vast majority of the cars in question — 619,122 — are in the United States, while 153,310 are in Canada and 6,130 are in Mexico. Dealers will make the necessary repairs free of charge, but until owners get it fixed, General Motors is recommending that they remove any extraneous weight from their keychains.
The company reportedly said that the ignition switch torque performance may not live up to GM’s specifications. Documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that the component was made in Mexico.
The recall affects Cobalt owners from the 2005-2007 model years and G5 owners from 2007 alone.