GM announces yet another round of recalls, this time for 400,000 cars

June 27, 2014, 11:10 PM UTC
Christmas arrived on schedule for the U.S. auto industry as a spurt of sales put the wrapping on a surprisingly successful year. Analysts predicted that sales in December could hit a seasonally-adjusted rate of 17 million, which would be the first month at that rate in nearly six years. That would push 2013 sales up to a robust 15.7 million units. Welcome as they were, surging sales weren't the biggest news of the year. Detroit celebrated when General Motors made Mary Barra the auto industry's first female CEO, then held its breath while Ford CEO Alan Mulally dithered over a move to Seattle and Microsoft. The old Big Three, complaining about straining available production capacity, made plans to expand and hire. Tesla fired up electric car sales and refused to play by industry's rules, while Google pioneered a car that drives itself. There were reversals too. Sales of electric vehicles suffered as gas prices leveled off and then fell. Suzuki wound down its presence in the U.S. market, and Volvo looked none too healthy. Sales in China -- now the world's largest auto market -- slowed, and Europe remained deep in a slump, its fundamental overcapacity problems unsolved. Here are some of the year's pinnacles and potholes:
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg—Getty

General Motors CEO Mary Barra delivered on her promise to keep the recalls coming as the beleaguered automaker announced yet another round of callbacks Friday afternoon affecting nearly 400,000 vehicles.

The latest GM (GM) announcement came a day after Barra told NBC’s Matt Lauer to expect the Detroit company to add to its list of nearly 50 recalls so far this year, which already involve as many as 20.5 million vehicles. (While Barra was on TV, she even announced the recall of 33,000 Chevrolet Cruze vehicles due to potential airbag issues.)

The latest round of callbacks covers 392,459 full-size pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S., as well as another 53,607 in Canada and 20,874 more in other countries. The vehicles affected are the 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and the 2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. GM said those vehicles may suffer from a defect that electronically switches the car into neutral, which could cut power from the wheels if the car is in motion at the time it occurs. The company said it is not aware of any crashes or injuries related to the issue.

Two smaller recalls affect 1,939 2014 Chevrolet Corvettes as well as 4,794 Chevrolet Caprice police cars and Chevrolet SS sport sedans (both from 2014). The latter relates to a potential defect in the cars’ wipers, while the Corvette recall relates to the vehicles’ shocks.

Barra has been called in front of Congress twice this year to answer questions about the company’s delayed recall of 2.6 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches. That defect resulted in at least 13 deaths over several years and revelations that GM engineers knew about the problem years before taking action. The company faces a barrage of lawsuits by customers and by families of crash victims. Meanwhile, the Transportation Department has levied GM with fines of  $35 million.