GM Recalls Sports Cars Due to Air Bag Defect

Warren, M.I. – Feb. 21, 2017 – General Motors Co. has recalled more than 91,000 Pontiac and Saturn sports cars with defective air bags. The recall affects Pontiac Solstice coupes and convertibles, as well as Saturn Sky roadsters produced between 2005 and 2009, according to documentation from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The Defect

Both vehicles are equipped with passenger air bag suppression systems that leverage seat sensors to determine if passenger safety features should be deployed in the event of a crash. The sensors used in these systems can bend and become damaged over time with repeated passenger contact. In some cases, these devices can malfunction completely and inhibit air bag deployment, even when occupants are present. This presents serious safety risks, as passengers could be left without protection when an accident occurs.

Timeline of Events

In April 2016, an owner submitted a defect petition requesting that GM investigate the PPS systems in Solstice and Sky models. Roughly one month later, the automaker opened an internal inquiry. The NHTSA made GM aware of additional complaints soon after and, in July, solicited warranty information for potentially vehicles. On Dec. 15, GM launched an official investigation. Engineers met with NHTSA officials throughout December and January 2017. The automaker’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority initiated a recall Jan. 19 and notified dealers Jan. 26.

The Solution

GM has not yet developed a workable solution to the problem, according to documents filed with the NHTSA. There is no timetable for when a solution might be available but dealers have been advised to address customer concerns. Consequently, the automaker has updated its Global Warranty Management system so dealership personnel can effectively respond to individuals who may own affected vehicles. GM also advises Solstice and Sky owners to contact customer service for additional assistance.

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