U.S. regulators have received over 1,100 complaints from consumers about the power steering failures in various Chevrolet and Pontiac models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started investigating after receiving these complaints, which included 14 car accidents. Those accidents have only caused one injury, however.
GM plans to replace the motor in the power steering systems of about 1.3 million vehicles. They are:
- The 2005-2010 Cobalt;
- 2007-2010 Pontiac G5;
- 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit sold in Canada; and
- The 2005-2006 Pontiac G4 sold in Mexico.
According to a GM statement, customers who own these models will be notified when the company’s plan is ready. These vehicles can be manually steered when the power steering fails, although it takes more effort. The steering failures tend to happen in older cars whose warranties are expired.
GM, now owned by the Obama government after the Detroit bailouts, reported a 44 percent decline in Cobalt sales compared to 2008. Sales for 2009 were 104,724 Cobalt cars. In February of this year, they reported fewer sales than analysts had predicted, which could have been due to snowstorms, although that is not known.
GM Reducing the Opel Division
In efforts to increase its sales of Opel models, GM plans to triple its funding by appealing to European governments for loans and guarantees
- “European governments, not least Germany, want GM to raise its commitment to Opel as a condition to provide state aid,” said Marc-Rene Tonn, an analyst at M.M. Warburg in Hamburg.
Because of the decline in Opel sales, GM needs more funding to restructure that division and plans to reduce the Opel workforce by 17 percent and the division’s production capacity by 20 percent over the next two or three years.
According to GM Vice Chairman, Bob Lutz, GM will continue scaling back its spending and reducing its bureaucracy in an attempt to increase market share in 2010 and post a profit.
If you have one of the Chevy or Pontiac models being recalled, you can contact your dealer for information about the power steering motor replacement plan.
The causes of car accidents are legion. Power steering failure at least leaves you with manual steering, although many drivers may be unfamiliar with the increased muscle it requires. Hopefully there will be no further injuries from this defect.