UPDATE 3-GM expands ignition switch recall to 2.6 million cars
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By Paul Lienert
DETROIT, March 28 (Reuters) - General Motors Co expanded its global recall of cars with defective ignition switches to 2.6 million on Friday, adding 971,000 later-model vehicles due to concerns over faulty replacement parts.
The recall now includes all model years of the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Saturn Ion, Saturn Sky, Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Solstice made from 2003-2011.
At least 12 deaths have been linked to the defect in the ignition, which when jostled or bumped can switch itself into "accessory" mode, even at highway speeds, shutting down the engine and disabling power steering, power brakes and airbags.
The expanded recall follows a Reuters report on Wednesday that it was still possible to purchase GM-brand ignition switches manufactured by Delphi Automotive carrying the same part number as the product at the center of the February recall.
GM redesigned the faulty part for model years after 2007, but it did not change the part number, and it fears that some newer-model cars could have been repaired with defective older-model switches.
Switches still available in parts stores may not be defective, but it is nearly impossible to tell new ones from older-design ones unless they are taken apart or the manufacturing history is checked, Reuters reported.
Even before the expansion, the recall had sparked investigations by Congress, federal regulators, the Department of Justice and GM itself. All are asking why it took GM so long to address an issue first noted by the company in 2001. Continued...