Will the VW diesel-emissions scandal permanently derail diesel technology for passenger cars in the United States? “No way,” says Mark Reuss, GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. Speaking at a recent press event, Reuss said that both the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze Diesel and the diesel program for Cadillac are safe.
Chevrolet has officially confirmed a diesel version of the redesigned 2016 Cruze, which is larger but lighter than its predecessor. The diesel is set to join the lineup for 2017, and Chevy hopes it will build on the performance of the outgoing Cruze Turbo Diesel. Chevrolet is sticking with the plan, said Reuss: “The Cruze Diesel is too good not to do it.”
GM is recalling 3073 vehicles for ignition switches that can be hard to turn and become stuck with their keys in the run position. According to GM, the lock actuator gear has “an outer diameter that exceeds specifications” and the sticking problem is more likely when cabin temperatures are “higher.” At that point, if the vehicle goes over a bump or the interior cools, the key can then slide to the accessory position, thereby shutting down the entire car and all of its passive safety systems (like airbags). Affected models include 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500s and GMC Sierra 1500s, certain 2015 HD versions of the Silverado and Sierra, and the 2015 Suburbanand Tahoe. According to the Detroit Free Press, a GM employee reported the defect under the company’s “Speak Up For Safety” program initiated in April 2014, just two months after the first ignition-switch recall.
GM says it will replace the ignition lock housing, but not the entire switch. It also did not include the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, mechanical twins to the Tahoe and Suburban, in the action. Since the start of 2014, GM has recalled nearly 12.6 million cars in the U.S. for ignition-related defects, most of which involve cars randomly shutting off. GM has only been implicated by the government for the initial 2.2 million cars and recently settled with a U.S. Attorney’s office for $900 million, or less than what Toyota paid for a defect many largely attributed to driver error.
General Motors is recalling 395 cars with Takata-sourced airbag inflators that can send pieces of the inflator into the passenger compartment upon deployment, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Unlike the roughly 19 million cars that have been recalled since last fall, the faulty inflators in these 2015 GM models are not frontal airbags but seat-mounted side airbags. In August, NHTSA began investigating Volkswagen after a side curtain airbag (which deploys from the roof rails to protect occupants’ heads) ruptured in a 2015 Tiguan. The affected GM models include the 2015 Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Camaro,Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, and GMC Terrain. Takata notified GM early this month after a side airbag inflator failed during a factory quality check, the automaker said. No injuries or accidents have been reported. Dealers will replace the airbags with new Takata inflators manufactured “outside of the suspect lot.”
At this point, neither Takata nor NHTSA has implicated additional vehicles in the recall for side and side curtain airbags. They have also not indicated whether these inflators are made with the same ammonium nitrate compound that has proven to degrade over the vehicle’s lifetime and with exposure to humidity. However, the agency is planning to disclose more details—including additional manufacturers subject to the recalls beyond the current 12—during a Thursday hearing live on its Takata page.