A power steering problem linked to 14 crashes in the US has forced General Motors to recall 1.3 million small cars in North America.
The models affected are the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Pursuit and the Pontiac 4 and GM said the fault meant that at low speeds “greater steering effort may be required”, but that the cars could still be “safely controlled”. Ironically GM has blamed the fault on a supplier partially owned by Toyota.
The recall covers the 2005 to 2010 model year Chevrolet Cobalt, and 2007 to 2010 Pontiac G5 sold in the US. In addition, it includes the 2005 to 2006 Pontiac Pursuit sold in Canada, and the 2005 to 2006 Pontiac G4 sold in Mexico.
GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz said the supplier had not met “all requirements for reliability and durability”.
“So we will have to see who takes financial responsibility,” he said. “But this is a risk you sometimes take when you buy a complete system from a supplier.”
GM said it had told the US car safety regulator – the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – about the recall on Monday after it finished an investigation that started last year.
The NHTSA itself had been investigating the problem since 27 January after receiving more than 1,100 complaints, including 14 crashes and one injury.
“After our in-depth investigation, we found that this is a condition that takes time to develop,” said GM vice president of quality, Jamie Hresko.
“It tends to occur in older models out of warranty. Recalling these vehicles is the right thing to do for our customers’ peace of mind.”