Will GM’s New Recall Affect Consumer Views?

General Motors (NYSE:GM) is recalling upwards of 231,000 older SUVs due to potential fire risks. Owners are being told to park them outside garages until they are repaired.

The recall involves 193,000 2006-2007 U.S. SUVs including the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, SAAB 9-7x, and Isuzu Ascender, along with the 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL. 3,546 SUVs have also been recalled in Canada as well as 4,876 in Mexico. Finally, 30,000 were recalled outside of North America.

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The recall revolves around fluid entering the driver’s door where, over time, it can cause rust that can short the circuit board. The short can cause the power locks and windows to fail and can also lead to overheating. The overheating can melt components of the door producing smoke or a fire. So far, at least 28 door fires have been reported, some of which began when the car was unattended.

The new recall is the second related to this issue — the first recall occurring this last August. The first recall only extended to SUVs sold or registered in “salt belt states,” after GM found higher rust rates were due to road salts. The expanded recall comes from intense pressure from the government and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to fix vehicles outside of the states where road salt is common. The recall begins July 26.

In total, the new recall means that GM has recalled about 443,000 SUVs related to the issue in America. GM dealers will test whether the driver’s door module is working, and if it is, they will apply a new coating to the door to prevent leakage. If the door module is damaged, they will repair it along with adding a new coating. However, Alan Adler, GM’s spokesman, explained that the incidence rate in the new recall — those outside of the “salt belt states” — was six times less likely to occur, and only six fires had been reported from vehicles involved with the latest recall.

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The recall comes at a time when Toyota Motors (NYSE:TM) has only recently settled portions of its longstanding lawsuit surrounding unintended acceleration of its Prius line. The recall had a significant impact on consumer views of their products, specifically safety, that is only now beginning to fade into the past. It is unclear whether GM’s recall will result in similar distrust of their vehicles.

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