General Motors is recalling an additional 824,000 small cars in the U.S., adding to the 1.37 million it recalled domestically last month, citing possible faulty ignition switches.
Worldwide, the latest announcement affects a total of 971,000 vehicles, on top of the 1.6 million recalled globally in February.
The automaker says that it will replace the ignition switch in all model years of its Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky. GM said faulty ignition switches may have been used to repair the vehicles.
Automotive News says the expanded recall involves 2008-2011 model years for the Chevy Cobalt and 2008-2010 model years for the others.
"Because it is not feasible to track down all the parts, the company is taking the extraordinary step of recalling 824,000 more vehicles in the U.S. to ensure that every car has a current ignition switch," GM said in a statement.
In an FAQ related to the recalls on GM's website, it says "there is a risk, under certain conditions, that your ignition switch may move out of the 'run' position, resulting in a partial loss of electrical power and turning off the engine."
GM has linked the problem to at least a dozen deaths in more than 30 crashes.
"We're taking no chances with safety" CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. "Trying to locate several thousand switches in a population of 2.2 million and distributed to thousands of retailers isn't practical. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling the rest of the model years."
Automotive News says:
"The original switches in those later-model cars were manufactured with switches that were redesigned after the 2006 model year. But GM decided to recall those models because some might have been repaired with the older ignition switches made by part supplier Delphi. About 90,000 older, faulty switches were used in aftermarket repairs over the years, [GM spokesman Jim] Cain said."
As The New York Times and Reuters reported earlier this month, GM may be facing a criminal inquiry over the ignition switch problem, in addition to an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Also, earlier this month, in a separate recall, GM has ordered back 1.2 million SUVs and nearly 400,000 other vehicles with air bag problems.