Every Chevrolet Camaro built since General Motors relaunched the pony car in 2010 – some 511,508 cars worldwide — was recalled today after GM discovered drivers could accidentally turn the car off with their knees, the same problem at the heart of the deadly Chevy Cobalt recall.
GM says it's aware of only three crashes with four minor injuries linked to the problem, that the ignition switches in the Camaro aren't to blame and that the recall (along with three other minor recalls also announced today) demonstrate how it's now trying to jump on safety problems as soon as they emerge. But the Camaro recall touches the core Chevy fan base in a way that other recalls haven't.
According to GM, after the recall of 2.6 million Chevy Cobalts and other older GM models for bad ignition switches, the company began testing other models to see if drivers could also bump the key into the accessory or off position while driving. It found that if Camaro drivers were sitting close enough to the steering wheel, they could bump the combined key/fob.
GM's solution will be to separate the key from the large fob that opens the doors and trunks; until it can provide new keys in a couple of week, Chevy dealers have been told to stop selling Camaros. The Camaro's ignition switch has no parts in common with the Cobalt switches linked to 13 deaths and scores of injuries, and GM says the switch itself meets all engineering standards. GM did not immediately say when it was made aware of the injury accidents in the Camaro.
“Discovering and acting on this issue quickly is an example of the new norm for product safety at GM,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president of GM Global Safety.
Of the 511,508 Camaros affected, 464,712 are in the United States, with the rest outside the country.
The other three recalls announced by GM affect a total of 65,121 cars in the United States, none of which have been linked to crashes or injuries:
—28,789 Saab 9-3 convertibles from the 2004-2011 model years for a cable in the driver's side seat belt tensioner that could break.
—21,567 Chevrolet Sonic compacts from 2012 with a six-speed automatic transmission and the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. A transmission shaft can fail, causing various transmission problems, some of which could be sudden.
—14,765 model year 2014 Buick LaCrosse sedans for a wiring splice in the driver’s door may corrode and break, allowing someone to operate the power windows and sunroof when no key is in the vehicle.
GM CEO Mary Barra warned last week that more recalls were imminent last week after she released the internal report by attorney Anton Valukas into the company's failure surrounding the Cobalt recall. With the Camaro action, GM has now recalled more than 13.3 million vehicles since January, a new record for any automaker, as it attempts to be safe rather than sorry again.