SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- General Motors will start repairs Monday to the 2.6 million vehicles at the center of a controversial recall.
A faulty ignition switch is tied to at least 13 deaths, but some believe that number could be higher.
The ignition switch can be bumped and the vehicle can switch off while on the road, disabling power to steering, brakes and airbags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating why the company took ten years to do a recall. GM CEO Mary Barra has apologized, but says she doesn’t know why there was a delay after the company discovered the problem a decade ago.
According to a memo obtained by investigators, GM engineers met early in 2005 to consider making changes to the ignition switch after reports it was moving out of position and causing cars to stall. But an engineer said the switch was “very fragile” and advised against changes.
Later that year, GM also approved but then canceled a change to the key design.
Starting Monday, the owners of six GM models can bring their vehicles to a dealer to fix the ignition switch. The first repairs are available for model years 2003 through 2007. The models include the Chevy Cobalt, the H-H-R,the Pontiac G-5 and Solstice, and the Saturn Ion and Sky.Other models will be added later.
Those brands that have been discontinued can still be brought to a GM dealer.
GM is providing rentals to some of those affected as they wait for the repair.
The repair is free and will take about a half hour if you have scheduled ahead of time.