As GM Plans Recall, Critics Say It’s Dragging Its Feet

HOST INTRO: General Motors scored a legal victory on Thursday. A judge ruled that the automaker did not have to advise owners of over 2 million cars to keep their vehicles off the road. GM recalled those cars because their ignition switches are faulty.There are still concerns, however, that GM is rolling out that recall much too slowly. Raymond Bayor reports. 

In the General Motors area of the New York Auto Show, visitors didn’t seem too worried about the carmaker’s recall of Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions, and other small cars even though the ignition switches have caused 13 deaths. Eugene Grassie of Long Island was looking at a chevy suburban. He’s driven GM cars for 30 years. AMBI:

Bring up ambi of car show under narration on “New York Auto Show”

GRASSIE: I had the buicks, cadillacs, acadias you know, I think they are good qualities cars. I always buy GM cars. Well, I buy American cars, but tHEY mainly GMs. (00:13)

Mark Halliwell was looking at a buick. The recall didn’t bother him either.

HALLIWELL: It’s not gonna affect me in anything thing that I’m gonna think about as far as purchasing. The system of recall is a checks and balance system which needs to be there but it’s one of those evil necessities that have to happen obviously in business. it will have to be something really significant for me to try and sway myself away from GM. (00:24)

It’s the kind of customer loyalty GM might desperately need right now. The company announced recently that it will cost 1 billion dollars to administer a recall. But critics say GM is dragging its feet.

KAM: They haven’t really done the recall yet. Allan Kam was senior enforcement lawyer for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They’ve announced the recall and they’ve sent notification notice to owners, but they patch in sufficient quantity are not available yet. And the pronouncements I’ve seen indicates that sufficient parts to repair all the vehicles won’t be available until as late as October. (00:16)

GM has told dealers that owners of recalled cars can rent replacements. The company hasn’t told the owners.

KAM: So most owners don’t know about that. There’s a couple million owners involved, and something like 30,000 free rental cars have been provided. (00:08)

A group of the US senators has asked the Justice Department to make sure GM be held responsible for the deaths and injuries attributed to the recalled cars. At least nine of the deaths occurred before July 2009, when GM was in bankruptcy. That insulates the company from lawsuits.

Raymond Bayor, Columbia Radio News.

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