Already under heavy scrutiny for defects in their older model vehicles, including the popular Chevy Silverado truck, General Motors (GM) recently issued a second stop-sale order for their Chevrolet Cruze. An estimated 33,000 Cruzes are suspected to suffer from a defect in the airbag system, supplied by the Japanese manufacturer Takata. This follows a wave of earlier recalls related to other technical problems with Takata’s air bag modules.
The Chevy Cruze is GM’s second most popular vehicle in sales, behind the Silverado pickup truck. Nearly 200,000 were sold between January and May of 2014, which is an 18.4 percent increase in the number of sales during the same period in 2013. Earlier this year, GM had issued a stop-sale order for the model as a result of a problem with the right front axle shaft. Approximately 170,000 Cruze automobiles were recalled to local dealerships, specifically certain 2013 and 2014 models.
According to GM spokesman Jim Cain, certain Cruze vehicles “may be equipped with a suspect driver’s air bag inflator module that may have been assembled with an incorrect part.” The company is hoping to work with Takata, the airbag manufacturer, to identify the malfunctioning vehicles so that U.S. and Canadian dealerships can easily isolate defective units while continuing to sell those they know are safe. GM is currently preparing a recall for Chevy Cruze cars that have already been purchased that are known to be affected by the airbag defect. This new air bag related safety recall is apparently unrelated to previous issues with Takata air bags.
Since 2009, over 10 million automobiles have been recalled for problems with Takata air bag inflators. On June 23, 2014 seven major automakers, including Honda, Nissan, and Toyota, communicated a combined recall as a result of another problem with the corporation’s air bags. This follows Toyota’s recall of 2.2 million vehicles on June 11. It was reported that certain vehicles run the risk of having their air bags explode. In August 2013, an exploding air bag launched an inch-long piece of metal into the right eye of a 2005 Honda Civic driver, causing loss of sight and severe facial lacerations.
Takata Corporation is one of the largest airbag manufacturers in the world and supplies a number of different auto makers. While sharing components allow auto companies to exploit economies of scale and the lower average costs of production, technical problems with the commonly used modules can affect a broad range of car models and consumers. The most recent airbag flaws are estimated to have affected over six million vehicles from various manufacturers.
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If you own a vehicle that has recently been recalled for safety issues related to defective components, it is important that you take it to your local dealership for the proper recall-related repairs and service. CarFax estimates that there are around 36 million automobiles with at least one incomplete recall-repair on the road. Malfunctioning components can cause severe injury or even death; Honda has already reported several fatalities from faulty airbags this year. If you or anyone you know has a 2013 – 2014 Chevy Cruze and would like more information, you may contact us to schedule your free personal injury consultation with the expert product liability attorneys at Pope McGlamry, P.C. today!