DETROIT — Consumers looking for a used vehicle aren’t shying away from GM models — even though more than 20 million GM cars and trucks have been recalled this year.
General Motors cars such as the Chevrolet Malibu have retained or increased in value, sometimes more than rival vehicles. And sales of new cars aren’t slowing either, up 13 percent in May.
GM has issued 44 recalls in North America this year for parts ranging from ignition switches to air bags. The most serious is for ignition switches in 2.6 million small cars linked to more than 50 crashes and at least 13 deaths. Investigations into that recall have exposed GM as a company that was too slow to react to serious safety issues.
In the past, consumers punished automakers for big recalls. Those companies lost market share — Toyota’s dropped 2 percentage points over 12 months when it recalled 14 million cars for unintended acceleration. Yet GM’s has held fairly steady so far, around 18 percent.
GM has cautioned that an ongoing companywide safety review could produce even more recalls — just Monday it recalled another 3.4 million cars for a separate ignition switch issue — so consumers might still decide it’s smarter to buy their wheels elsewhere.
For now, experts say, GM has retained buyers’ confidence by appearing to act quickly on safety matters — even though GM’s internal investigation into the small-car switch recall showed that employees took years to realize they had a safety problem on their hands.
“People are associating that with being vigilant more than being careless,” said Larry Dominique, president of ALG, formerly Automotive Lease Guide, whose data is used by dealers to set leased car values.
That could explain why the value of the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu rose almost 3 percent from February, when the recalls started, through May, according to ALG. That compares with midsize cars as a whole, which dropped in value by 1 percent. The Malibu has been part of five recalls this year.
Continue reading this story on the...