GM Recall on a GM Recall to Fix a GM Recall

We’ve talked about the GM recall situation more than once. General Motors is in a world of hurt thanks to its ignition switch recall, the apparent coverup of the problem that delayed the recall, the (generally ignored) complicity of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for ignoring the problem, and so forth. In order to cover up the depth of the recall and give the appearance of “doing something” (finally), GM has been flooding the news media with decidedly less-interesting recalls. Every GM recall is followed by another, then another, then yet another so that news of executives from the company appearing before congress and the press gets drowned out in almost frivolous recall news.

So here we are, the lone automotive journalists out here in the field reading PR after PR and opinion piece after screed after legal analysis, feeling dizzy. Which would explain why it took me a week to notice this fun bit of GM recall news..

According to Consumer Reports, GM has issued a recall on its own recall. As one friend put it, it appears that, at this point, the Three Stooges could run a company better than GM’s executive team has been.

It’s recommend that from this point forward, you read this article out loud. It’s more fun that way.

GM-Recall-637x358This latest recall is to recall some of the vehicles fixed under an earlier GM recall in which ignition switches that were defective were replaced with.. get this.. defective ignition switches. And you thought Government Motors was just a nickname. GM has taken busy work to a whole new level.

The problem lies in part numbering schema. You see, when the faulty ignition switches were outed and a GM recall was issued amid the initial scandal, replacement switches had already been procured. These new switches were given the same part number as the old ones, so dealers (finding this out after the fact) had no idea what to toss out as defective and what to keep. So they kept all of them. This meant that technicians replacing faulty ignition switches under the GM recall were sometimes putting faulty ignition switches back in.


This goes on top of ordinary repairs made before the recall but after the ignition switches were changed. Double oops.

The only way for GM to know if the faulty ignition switch was swapped for another faulty one is to look. Which means.. yep, another recall even for those cars that’ve had a recall already.

Ahhh.. fun times in automotive journalism.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at