Glass Mix–Up Prompts Recall of GM Vans

Laguna Hills, CA – June 7, 2019 – Over a thousand Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vehicles with model years 2016 to 2019 produced by General Motors LLC, are due to be recalled as a result of the possible wrong installation of tempered glass in the automobiles’ rear windows. The vans were meant to be installed with laminated glass, which tend to be more resistant to shattering, but instead feature tempered glass. In the event of a serious accident – such as a rollover – the tendency of tempered glass to explode increases the risk of injury. GM intends to send out advisories to owners of these vehicles, urging them to take the automobiles to their nearest GM dealer for a free repair. It’s unclear as of yet when those notifications will begin.

The Defect

According to documentation filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, General Motors is recalling an estimated 1,159 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, whose model years range between 2016 and 2019. An internal investigation determined that some of these automobiles may have been installed with tempered glass, described as such because they’re reinforced with heat to strengthen their resilience. While tempered glass has more safety properties than standard glass, laminated glass – the type the vehicles are meant to have – has an extra layer of vinyl, which enables the glass to hold its shape more effectively in the event of a crash. This also helps prevent the potential of ejection from the vehicle should motorists not have their seatbelts on during an accident.

Because the vehicles in question do not comply with Number 226 of the government’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, which relates to ejection mitigation, GM has decided to pull the 1,150+ vans from the marketplace so that tempered glass can be swapped out with laminated where necessary.

Timeline of Events

The flaw in question came to the attention of General Motors March 18 of this year, when an engineer for the company happened to notice that both a Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana had rear-quarter windows installed with tempered glass instead of the correct laminated type. The engineer made the company aware of the flaw through its Speak Up For Safety, which was formally launched in 2014 and serves as a “see something say something” outlet for GM employees when something is amiss.

A formal investigation was launched roughly a week after the engineer first spotted the flaw, and concluded May 13. GM’s Field Action Decision Authority determined as a result of the findings that some of the cars in question may indeed fail to comply with the ejection mitigation rule established by NHTSA and recommended a recall.

The Solution

Although GM has not yet determined when notifications will be distributed, it intends to inform owners of 2016-2019 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana to bring their automobiles back to any GM dealer so the proper glass can be installed. The fix will come at no charge to owners. For more information, visit MotorSafety.org or contact GM’s customer service department at 1-586-596-1733. The recall number is N192218960.

Sean ReyesGlass Mix–Up Prompts Recall of GM Vans