GM May Have Known In 2001 About Its Ignition Switch Problem

Illustration for article titled GM May Have Known In 2001 About Its Ignition Switch Problem

There is new evidence to suggest GM has known about a problem with the ignition switches that are now the subject of a major recall, linked to more than a dozen deaths and the subject of a federal criminal investigation, for 13 years.

The Wall Street Journal reports tonight that according to GM documents given to federal investigators, it had reports of stalling problems with the ignition in question even before the Saturn Ion was launched in late 2002. And that was three years before the Chevy Cobalt, the model most closely linked to this investigation, was put on sale.


That's not a good development when the government is trying to find out if GM told the NHTSA about any problems with these ignition switches in a timely manner.

Photo: AP

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I actually own the Saturn Ion and can confirm it is very easy to shut the car off with even a tug of the key chain. There are actually two problems with the design of the ignition switch. The first, obviously, is the switch itself. The second is the key. It has a long slot that allows the key chain to slide to one side increasing the torque generated by the weight of the chain and greatly exacerbating the problem.