GM recalls 2.7M more cars; industry on record pace

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 15, 2014 at 4:33 pm •  Published: May 15, 2014
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"We're not waiting for warranty trends to develop over time," he said. "It's not only about frequency, it has to be about seriousness of the potential defect as well."

GM has now recalled more than 11 million cars and trucks in the U.S. so far this year, close to its annual recall record of 11.8 million set in 2004.

The auto industry also is on track to set a single-year record for U.S. recalls. Companies have recalled 15.4 million vehicles in a little more than four months, according to government records. The old single-year record for recalls is 30.8 million vehicles in 2004. Toyota, Ford, and Chrysler also have announced sizeable recalls this year.

Industrywide, automakers are moving faster to fix problems than they have in the past in a bid to avoid bad publicity and record fines from government agencies.

"All manufacturers are recalibrating their recall programs to go from 'if in doubt, don't recall' to 'if in doubt, recall,'" said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department made Toyota pay a $1.2 billion penalty and admit to concealing problems with unintended acceleration in its cars and trucks. That fine and the GM investigation — which could bring criminal charges against individuals — have changed the way automakers view recalls.

GM said the recalls announced Thursday also will fix problems with headlamps, power brakes and windshield wipers. The Detroit automaker will take a $200 million charge this quarter, on top of a $1.3 billion charge in the first quarter, mostly to cover the repairs. GM shares fell 1.7 percent to close at $34.36.

The auto industry set the standing recall record in 2004 after U.S. laws were changed requiring them to report more defects to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Experts also blamed the high number on vehicles that rely more heavily on computers, more common parts across each company's model lineup and more safeguards at litigation-sensitive automakers to catch flaws earlier.

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AP Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin contributed to this report.