General Motors Co (GM) expanded its global recall of cars with defective ignition switches to 2.6 million on Friday, adding 971,000 later-model vehicles due to concerns over faulty replacement parts.
The recall now includes all model years of the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Saturn Ion, Saturn Sky, Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Solstice made from 2003 to 2011.
At least 12 deaths have been linked to the defect in the ignition, which when bumped can switch itself into “accessory” mode, even at highway speeds, shutting down the engine and disabling power steering, power brakes and airbags.
The expanded recall follows a Reuters report on Wednesday last week that it was still possible to purchase GM-brand ignition switches manufactured by Delphi Automotive carrying the same part number as the product at the center of the February recall.
GM redesigned the faulty part for model years after 2007, but it did not change the part number, and it fears that some newer-model cars could have been repaired with defective switches.
GM chief executive Mary Barra said on Friday that “we are taking no chances with safety” in replacing the ignition switches on all 2.6 million cars. Barra is due to testify next week before the US Congress, where she is likely to be grilled on why it took GM more than 10 years to implement the recall.
The expanded recall adds 971,000 cars globally, including 824,000 in the US, GM said.
GM had said on Thursday that the replacement ignition switch it has ordered from Delphi to use in the earlier recall will bear a new part number that “eliminates any potential confusion about which part to use in the repair,” according to a company spokesman.