GM Recalls Cruze Again — But Only After Clamming Up First – Forbes
General Motors’ General Motors’ finally acknowledged over the weekend that it is initiating a new safety recall of some of its Chevrolet Cruze cars after earlier it had stopped shipments of them to dealers and kicking things off with a mystery that the company was slow to clear up.
The company told the Wall Street Journal late on Friday that it is recalling 172,000 Cruzes with right, front-axle shafts that may fracture and separate without warning during normal driving. GM also recalled 490,200 pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles in separate actions.
GM told the newspaper that it wasn’t aware of any crashes or injuries related to the problems. But the new action does represent the third time in as many years that it has recalled its best-selling car.
Moreover, the GM recall didn’t get off to a start that was consistent with the new “transparency” regime of CEO Mary Barra, which she quickly has established to stanch the damage from the company’s massive and messy ignition-switch recall of decade-old cars.
On Friday, GM told dealers to stop selling some of its 2013 and 2014 Cruze models equipped with 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engines. The auto maker declined throughout the day to provide a reason until confirming a recall had been initiated late Friday night.
On Tuesday, with the industry’s monthly sales reports, will come the first snapshot of how the American car-buying public is reacting to the awful news of how GM mishandled the ignition-switch issue for several years. And there have been some indicators that consumer concern — and disgust — with the whole fiasco is retarding showroom traffic for GM brands.
Now the news that GM might be concerned about a defect in its most popular sedan could create an additional chilling effect.
Tuesday and Wednesday also are the days Barra may testify before Congress about the ignition-switch recall. On Friday, GM announced an addition to the initial recall of 1.6 million cars for the problem by recalling 971,000 more cars, including 824,000 in the United States, to replace ignition switches..
Initially, a lot of mystery surrounded GM’s sudden move to yank the Cruzes in question from its supply chain. GM wouldn’t say why it issued the order, USA Today reported. There was no official statement on GM’s news-media web site.
The order late Thursday covered a model that accounts for about 60 percent of Cruze sales and about one-third of dealers’ Cruze inventories.
Cruze accounted for about 14 percent of all Chevrolet vehicle sales in the first two months of this year, as its best-selling vehicle after the Silverado pickup truck. Cruze was GM’s top-selling car last year, as well, with sales of 248,000 units in 2013. The car also comes with a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated engine and a 2-liter turbodiesel.
The move left dealers scrambling on Friday to find out more details from GM, so they could answer questions from Cruze buyers who can’t get their cars immediately, USA Today reported.
“I have no details,” GM spokesman Alan Adler told the newspaper. “I’m sure somebody knows” why the order was issued, but neither he nor other GM spokesmen would provide further information.
Such a “stop” order is a decisive way to prevent safety-defective cars from getting into customers’ hands and forcing a recall later to fix them.