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    GM To Face Civil Trial Over A Faulty Ignition Switch On January 11th


    • GM Heads To Trial Over A Faulty Ignition Switch Next Month

    General Motors will be heading to court on January 11th to face the first of several planned 'bellwether' cases over its defective ignition switch.

     

    On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan rejected GM's claims to dismiss the case as the plaintiff provided sufficient evidence to justify letting a jury hear whether or not the switch caused or enhanced injuries in a crash.

     

    The case in question was brought to court by Robert Scheuer who crashed into two trees in Oklahoma on May 28, 2014. The Saturn Ion he was driving did not deploy the front airbags, which he says is a result of a defective ignition switch.

     

    Furman's decision "paves the way for the jury to have an unfettered and full view of GM's behavior in covering up this defect," said Bob Hilliard, lawyer for Scheuer in a statement.

     

    "We are fully prepared to go to trial, and introduce evidence showing that the ignition switch issue did not cause the injuries in this accident, or cause the airbags not to deploy," said GM spokesman James Cain in a phone interview with Reuters.

     

    This case is important as it is the first of six 'bellweather' cases being brought to trial. These cases are sometimes used in product liability litigation where hundreds or thousands of people have a similar case. The results of the six cases will help those decide whether or not to continue with their case or settle.

     

    Source: Reuters

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    Last year I purchased a 2008 Grand Prix for my teenager as a second hand purchase from an older guy for a dam good price.  I really like the car and so does he.  We took it in this week finally for an ignition switch recall, and after having it at the dealer for most of the day, I observed the fix.  The keys were originally made with slots for ring holders.  They plugged them with inserts that convert it to a simple round hole instead.  When I asked the service tech as to why exactly, he did not know.  My guess, it prevents the potential for a slight cantilever moment at one end of the slot, that could rotate the ignition.

     

    Wow.  

     

    s-l300.jpg

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    Last year I purchased a 2008 Grand Prix for my teenager as a second hand purchase from an older guy for a dam good price.  I really like the car and so does he.  We took it in this week finally for an ignition switch recall, and after having it at the dealer for most of the day, I observed the fix.  The keys were originally made with slots for ring holders.  They plugged them with inserts that convert it to a simple round hole instead.  When I asked the service tech as to why exactly, he did not know.  My guess, it prevents the potential for a slight cantilever moment at one end of the slot, that could rotate the ignition.

     

    Wow.  

     

    s-l300.jpg

     

    Only some of the vehicles get that fix, other replace the entire lock cylinder.  It depends on which vehicle you get. 

     

    The reason for the insert is this:

     

     

    A GM spokesman, Alan Adler, said a combination of excessive weight on the key and a jarring event could pull the key into “accessory” mode. If that happens, the engine cuts off and airbags are disabled.

    “The ignition switch is slightly out of spec; however, the whole system is in spec,” Adler said. “We don’t have a bad part that we’re replacing. The issue is more external.”

     

    So I'm guessing you're right in that putting the insert into the key prevents leverage from switching the key position to Acc. 

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    1. If he feels it aint safe for his offspring....he could sell said GM product.

     

    2. Id he decides to keep said GM car...its because he feels it safe...therefore there is no WOW at the end of his "comment"

     

    3. .....

     

    4. He finally took it in during holiday season? How convenient it is for him...

     

    5. ....

     

    .

     

    MAybe its a nice engineering fix....but there is no WOW at the end of that!

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    It is a wow in that it is a simple fix.   The GP is one of the GM cars with the ignition on the dash, a key with a slot in it rather than a single hole would be at an angle when in the run position.  If the driver has a lot of heavy weight on it tugging down, that weight could notch the key vertical (to Acc.) when hitting a bump.  The insert into the key would prevent that movement from happening.

     

    post-51-0-09557700-1451596740_thumb.jpg

     

     

    Edit:  And I have been mostly off from work in December 12th.  I've had two recalls done on my Honda, inspection, ball join repair, and had the Oldsmobile inspected and some repairs, plus re-doing an apartment that I plan to offer for lease next month..... lots of us use this time of year to catch up on things.

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    Yup, the 'wow' was that it was such a simple fix.  I figured there was an inspection done as well, but seeing as how the car has over 100K miles on it now, I bet that was considered into the decision.

     

    By the way, the Grand Prix is an excellent used vehicle to consider for family who are shopping for used and affordable.  The market is flooded with them, and although the car had it's faults, I recall shopping around and there were many with nearly 300K miles on that trusty Series III 3.8L.  The engine is rough when pushed, but it's torque down low makes up for most of that.  Ours was spotless from original retired owner, and I swear, nobody ever even sat in the back seat. 

     

    And the reason I purchased used is simple.  Insurance costs.  If you have a teen, you know what I mean.  

     

    And olds......really?

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    I forgot...I have access to cute little emoticons. So Ill just start using them, like I did when I first joined up here.

     

     

    Last year I purchased a 2008 Grand Prix for my teenager as a second hand purchase from an older guy for a dam good price.  I really like the car and so does he.  We took it in this week finally for an ignition switch recall, and after having it at the dealer for most of the day, I observed the fix.  The keys were originally made with slots for ring holders.  They plugged them with inserts that convert it to a simple round hole instead.  When I asked the service tech as to why exactly, he did not know.  My guess, it prevents the potential for a slight cantilever moment at one end of the slot, that could rotate the ignition.

     

    Wow.  

     

    s-l300.jpg

    :bs:

     

    Yup, the 'wow' was that it was such a simple fix.  I figured there was an inspection done as well, but seeing as how the car has over 100K miles on it now, I bet that was considered into the decision.

     

    By the way, the Grand Prix is an excellent used vehicle to consider for family who are shopping for used and affordable.  The market is flooded with them, and although the car had it's faults, I recall shopping around and there were many with nearly 300K miles on that trusty Series III 3.8L.  The engine is rough when pushed, but it's torque down low makes up for most of that.  Ours was spotless from original retired owner, and I swear, nobody ever even sat in the back seat. 

     

    And the reason I purchased used is simple.  Insurance costs.  If you have a teen, you know what I mean.  

     

    And olds......really?

    :bs:

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    I currently have 2 GM products with my name on the title, and one mopar.  I have personally owned / leased over a dozen GM products in my days, and I was raised in GM products.....and I still qualify for GM discounts through my retired GM father.  I have also owned several Honda's, Subaru and even Nissan.  

     

    Olds, are you suggesting I would never own GM as a Ford employee?  Actually, never mind.  I don't know what you are suggesting, and honestly don't care.

     

    Happy New Year anyway, you crazy Greek you.

    Edited by Wings4Life
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    Happy New Year to you to, Wings...

     

    Hopefully after decades of the same 'ol same 'ol routine of yours on the internet of being less than truthful of your intentions....you will change your ways...

     

    Like I said, I see right through you!

    Im like the oracle of Delphi.

     

     

    PS: Im not the one who followed a handful of MT posters in this website just to continue the less than truthful intentions, Wings.

    Id look in the mirror before Id start calling someone else twisted...

    The Greek part.

    Well, the part of Greece my mom comes from, yeah, they are a tad twisted, so no harm in you saying that, its the truth...

    However, If I was you, Id seriously take a reflection of what it is you do for the past 2 decades in internet forums and Id change it...

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    The Cobalt ignition switch was really the only ignition that was significantly substandard, because it was not only designed on the cheap to start with, but the 3rd party manufacturer built the design to an even lower standard, but the price was right and GM accepted it without scrutiny.

     

    GM recalling a few million w-bodies and gen 5 Camaros over zero deaths and just a dozen or so shutoff complaints was more about saving face with the public.

     

    The modified key with the hole in the middle is a very practical fix, it's logically sound to remove twisting leverage from the load of the keychain, since people can't be held responsible for keeping two pounds of keychains hanging on their fob. Ask any mechanic the sort of keychains they get from customers, especially ones with ignition problems.

     

    These ongoing trials are now a sh*t show for money grubbing lawyers.

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    The Cobalt ignition switch was really the only ignition that was significantly substandard, because it was not only designed on the cheap to start with, but the 3rd party manufacturer built the design to an even lower standard, but the price was right and GM accepted it without scrutiny.

     

    GM recalling a few million w-bodies and gen 5 Camaros over zero deaths and just a dozen or so shutoff complaints was more about saving face with the public.

     

    The modified key with the hole in the middle is a very practical fix, it's logically sound to remove twisting leverage from the load of the keychain, since people can't be held responsible for keeping two pounds of keychains hanging on their fob. Ask any mechanic the sort of keychains they get from customers, especially ones with ignition problems.

     

    These ongoing trials are now a sh*t show for money grubbing lawyers.

     

    Are you suggesting of the 169 deaths and hundreds more injured, that it only involved Cobalt?  I did not know.  I mean, I know there were many vehicles recalled, but if that is true, that is a bit surprising to go to such lengths to save face.

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    The Cobalt ignition switch was really the only ignition that was significantly substandard, because it was not only designed on the cheap to start with, but the 3rd party manufacturer built the design to an even lower standard, but the price was right and GM accepted it without scrutiny.

     

    GM recalling a few million w-bodies and gen 5 Camaros over zero deaths and just a dozen or so shutoff complaints was more about saving face with the public.

     

    The modified key with the hole in the middle is a very practical fix, it's logically sound to remove twisting leverage from the load of the keychain, since people can't be held responsible for keeping two pounds of keychains h anging on their fob. Ask any mechanic the sort of keychains they get from customers, especially ones with ignition problems.

     

    These ongoing trials are now a sh*t show for money grubbing lawyers.

     

    Are you suggesting of the 169 deaths and hundreds more injured, that it only involved Cobalt?  I did not know.  I mean, I know there were many vehicles recalled, but if that is true, that is a bit surprising to go to such lengths to save face.

     

     

    There are two primary recalls over the ignition switch problem.  The "main" one where the entire switch itself is replaced only involves the Chevy Cobalt and HHR, Pontiac G5 and Solstice, and Saturn Ion and Sky.  Those are the only ones with a part number specifically linked to any injuries or fatalities.   

     

    There is a second group of recalls that involve the fix you got Wings, where just the keys are modified. This recall involves a different part number and no injuries or fatalities.  This is the "saving face" recall where GM is extending an extreme level of caution just to be on the safe side.  This recall involves the final generation W-Body cars (Lacrosse, Intrigue, Impala, Monte Carlo, Grand Prix), the N-Body cars (Early Malibu, Grand Am, Alero), the G-Body (Lucerne, Deville, DTS), and some of the early Sigma cars (CTS, Early SRX, but NOT STS), and the Camaro. 

     

    The total number of vehicles recalled around 6 million in this country.   Another point to be made is that the percentage of crashes where the airbags did not deploy due to this issue is well below the rate of non-deployment industry wide.  Even the Department of Transportation states that the airbags fail to deploy in up to 2% of crashes.    Even if 0.5% of the total of the recalled GM vehicles (30,000) were involved in a crash where the airbags should deploy, 169 vehicles where the airbags didn't deploy would be just 0.56%.... there would have to be 3.5 times as many instances of this situation happening just to meet industry average.

     

    Naturally, GM should be making sure that their vehicles are as safe as can be engineered for, but at the same time this is a very large mountain built from mole hills, and it doesn't surprise me at all that GM will defend itself where it can. 

     

    Edit:  Actually, I made an error above.  The total number of vehicles recalled for the ignition is 17.3 million, not 6 million (which seemed too low and why I went and checked more).  I'm not going to redo all of my percentages, even at 6 million, my point has been more than made. 

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    Thank you for that clarifying post, Drew. The Cobalt's sales volume and publicity dwarfed the other related models involved in the primary ignition case, so I tend to gloss over them.

     

    @wings - I hope his post answered your question.

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    Guest Howie

    Posted

    [...] Even if 0.5% of the total of the recalled GM vehicles (30,000) were involved in a crash where the airbags should deploy, 169 vehicles where the airbags didn't deploy would be just 0.56%.... there would have to be 3.5 times as many instances of this situation happening just to meet industry average.

    Naturally, GM should be making sure that their vehicles are as safe as can be engineered for, but at the same time this is a very large mountain built from mole hills, and it doesn't surprise me at all that GM will defend itself where it can. [...]

     

    As mentioned, not all "ignition switch" recalls are the same. Most of them involved the design of the key and were made out of extra-caution.

    The "real" faulty ignition switch recall actually involve 2,6 million vehicles.

    The 2% from the study is not the % of cars with non deploying airbags in the market, but the % of fatalities where the airbags didn't work.

     

    So

    a) You can't compare this 2% vs "0.56% of GM vehicles". It's rather 2% (market) vs 100% (GM faulty switch) of fatalities where the airbags didn't work.

    b) The 2% involve unknown causes which might include defect, but mostly design vs certain types of accident (the purpose of the study being to improve design and efficiency, as shown by improvement noticed between first, second and third gen airbags). GM where third gen rendered inoperative by a known mechanical design flaw. It's hardly "mountain built from mole hills" and, commendably, GM recognized it.

     

    Where GM has to defend itself in three areas :

    a) Trials from some of the 91% complaints GM deemed as not related to the ignition switch but as part of this "2%" the whole industry has to work on.

    b) Cases other than airbag related fatalities, going from annoying situations (car switching off without further consequences) to "who knew and how could this have happen".

    c) Some always willing to sue whatever...

     

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    I don't follow your reasoning for your first item a.  In that study, 2% of fatalities happened when the airbags didn't deploy, but were expected to have deployed. You cannot compare that to just the ignition related fatalities and not take into account the number of airbag deployments that did happen.  It's not 2% vs 100%.  

     

    If you want to look at just the main ignition recall numbers, that's fine too.  Assuming a rate of 0.5% of the 2,600,000 recalled vehicles have a crash that deploy the airbags, 169 where the airbags didn't deploy is still less than 2% ringing in at 1.3%.  What makes it hard is that both this study, and the 169 fatalities only count fatalities and not crashes that happened where no one died, but the airbags still did not properly deploy.   If you start to compare all injury claims on GM from this issue, you cannot then compare it to the 2% number from the DOT because that only counts fatalities. 

     

    In your first item b, you make an incorrect assumption.  The study was specifically looking at fatalities in frontal crashes. 

     

    From the study:

     

    The study examined only front seat occupants involved in frontal collisions, the type of crash in which front airbags are designed to provide protection. Each database had a different method of coding crash type. In FARS, frontal crashes were defined as having a principal impact of 11, 12, or 1 o’clock;

     

     

    Yes, it is a design flaw. Yes GM must fix it.  However, the "mountain made from mole hills" comment refers specifically to the rate of occurrence of this issue compared to airbag non-deployments industry wide.  Further, 169 fatalities is a drop in the bucket in relation to the over 30,000 fatal car crashes each year.   I don't want to sound like I am minimizing the 169 deaths that might have been prevented, but that number over 13 years when over 30,000 a year are dying in traffic accidents, one has to keep things in perspective.

     

    18 times as many people die just from not using seat belts each year (3,353 - 2010 : 3,394 - 2011 : 3,031 - 2012) than died from the total 13 years of this ignition switch issue. 4.5 times as many people die each year from not wearing a motorcycle helmet. (708 - 2010 : 706 - 2011 : 781 - 2012)

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    Drew, I agree with your remarks, except for your minimization of the 169 deaths and nearly 300 injuries.

    You simply can't do that.  That would be analogous to excusing a mass shooting because a person might have gone insane combined with the fact there are already many deaths and shootings in a given time frame anyway.  The victim's families could care less about numbers or relativity, they just want justice.  GM is not innocent here, of course, but regardless of how willing and honest and forthright they are now to make this go away, a lot of suffering has taken place.   

     

    And I know it is in the country's best interest to have GM move forward from this, and I think Mary B. has handled this exceptionally well, but the past mistakes do exist, and it is those mistakes and the ensuing justice that needs to be managed through all this.  And I also know that I was harsh in my remarks in the past toward GM on this, but credit where it is due.  GM is a great company, and that greatness is rising up from this terrible point in their history,  That's all one can do.

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    Drew, I agree with your remarks, except for your minimization of the 169 deaths and nearly 300 injuries.

    You simply can't do that.  That would be analogous to excusing a mass shooting because a person might have gone insane combined with the fact there are already many deaths and shootings in a given time frame anyway.  The victim's families could care less about numbers or relativity, they just want justice.  GM is not innocent here, of course, but regardless of how willing and honest and forthright they are now to make this go away, a lot of suffering has taken place.   

     

    And I know it is in the country's best interest to have GM move forward from this, and I think Mary B. has handled this exceptionally well, but the past mistakes do exist, and it is those mistakes and the ensuing justice that needs to be managed through all this.  And I also know that I was harsh in my remarks in the past toward GM on this, but credit where it is due.  GM is a great company, and that greatness is rising up from this terrible point in their history,  That's all one can do.

     

    I don't think I minimized anything regarding their death nor is it my intention to.   I am minimizing the hysteria that exists around the issue. 

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    By bringing up volumes of auto related deaths as 'perspective' and relating it as a 'drop in the bucket' you actually are.

    The huge percentage of those deaths are driver error, or weather related or involve alcohol, etc.  A small percentage are mechanical failures, and a tiny, tiny fraction are caused from manufacturing defects.  That is the percentage you should probably compare.

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    Guest Howie

    Posted

    I agree with the gist of what you're saying but not with your statistical comparison which is apples and oranges.

    Your 0.56% or 1,3% would be the % of fatalities vs number of cars with non-deploying airbags.

    The 2% in the study is about the % of fatalities vs total fatalities (not cars) related to non-deploying airbags.

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    I agree with the gist of what you're saying but not with your statistical comparison which is apples and oranges.

    Your 0.56% or 1,3% would be the % of fatalities vs number of cars with non-deploying airbags.

    The 2% in the study is about the % of fatalities vs total fatalities (not cars) related to non-deploying airbags.

     

    Well.. no... my 0.56% or 1.3% is the percent of airbag non-deployment fatalities vs number of all recall affected cars involved in a crash.

     

    We simply don't have enough statistical data from a control group and the recall group to get much closer than this. 

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