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The Globe and Mail

GM issues six more safety recalls for 823,000 vehicles

The latest recalls cover nearly 823,000 cars, trucks and SUVs, including almost 50,000 in Canada.

Jeff Kowalsky/Reuters

General Motors Co. issued six more recalls on Wednesday, bringing its annual total to 60 recalls covering almost 30 million vehicles.

The latest recalls cover nearly 823,000 cars, trucks and SUVs, including almost 50,000 in Canada.

The largest is for faulty seats in more than 475,000 cars and small SUVs, 29,555 of them in Canada. Other problems include incomplete welds on seat brackets, turn-signal failures, power-steering failures, loose suspension bolts and faulty roof rack bolts.

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GM is conducting a company-wide safety review as it tries to correct a dysfunctional corporate culture in which safety was a low priority.

GM's spate of recalls comes after trial lawyers discovered that the company knew about a deadly small-car ignition switch problem for more than a decade, yet failed to recall the cars until this year. The company says 13 people have died in crashes linked to the switches in 2.6 million older small cars, but lawmakers and lawyers say the death toll is closer to 100.

The company has set up a fund to compensate victims. The bungled recall has brought investigations from the U.S. Justice Department and Congress, as well as a maximum $35-million (U.S.) fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for delays in reporting problems to the agency.

Even before Wednesday, GM had passed its old full-year record of 11.8 million vehicles recalled in 2004.

The recalls also pushed the total number of vehicles recalled in the U.S. by all auto makers to 41.6 million so far this year, according to Stericycle, a firm that tracks recalls and helps corporations manage them. That's well above the old record of 30.8 million, also set in 2004.

GM spokesman Alan Adler wouldn't say if the company is nearing the end of its safety review. But he said the recalls indicate that GM has changed its approach to safety by issuing recalls more quickly. Mr. Adler said he did not have global totals for the latest recalls.

"If we identify an issue – large or small – that might affect the safety of our customers, we will act decisively," GM safety chief Jeff Boyer said in a statement.

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Most of GM's previous recalls covered models no longer in production, but Wednesday's batch affects numerous current models such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevy Equinox and the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

So far, the recalls haven't had much of an effect on GM's sales or resale values of its cars, said Eric Ibara, director of residual values for Kelley Blue Book. But Wednesday's recalls of current models could change that, he said in an e-mail. "Going forward, attention will be focused on whether sales and values are impacted on these models," Mr. Ibara wrote.

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