In an awkward bit of timing, General Motors issued a massive recall of nearly 400,000 of its trucks due to a possible fire hazard only days before learning whether its Chevy Silverado would be named the North American Truck of the Year. The recall likely didn’t help improve GM’s odds of winning the prestigious award, a distinction the company has lost to other automakers for years.
GM announced the recall of the 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra because of a software problem that could lead to overheating of exhaust component parts and eventually to a fire in the engine compartment of the full-size trucks. The car company said that all impacted vehicles would be reprogrammed by dealers to eliminate the risk of a potentially deadly car fire. So far officials say that there have been eight fires associated with the bad software and that three occurred at the homes of vehicle owners.
GM has warned drivers and dealers alike to watch for yellow “Check Engine” lights, which can be the first sign of a serious problem. Customers are also being asked to avoid letting their cars idle while they are unattended given that one of the car fires occurred while the vehicle was idling in the owner’s garage leading to an even more dangerous house fire.
GM unfortunately earned the distinction of the first large auto recall of 2014. Some experts say that recall will impact sales of the new trucks, models that had been seen as a way for GM to finally beat Ford’s F-series pickup as the country’s best-selling truck.
The number of major auto recalls has increased in recent years, a testament to the active enforcement by officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As the NHTSA has begun to exert more pressure on automakers to quickly reveal and fix dangerous problems, consumers have benefited enormously. Consumer advocacy groups have praised regulators for taking quick action while recognizing that more work remains to be done.
For example, just last year the NHTSA appeared to hand a victory to Chrysler when it allowed the automaker to recall significantly fewer Jeep Grand Cherokees than some experts had said needed to be fixed. Chrysler faced the costly prospect of recalling nearly five million Jeeps, but instead engaged in a showdown with the NHTSA over the matter. To avoid a fight, the NHTSA agreed to a recall of only 1.6 million Jeeps, something that safety advocates say sets a dangerous precedent.
If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact the Georgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope McGlamry P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.
Source: “Embarrassing setback as Chevy Silverado vies for Car of the Year,” by Paul Eisenstein, published at CNBC.com.
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