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Recalled trucks pose dangers to consumers and losses for GM

Posted on January 23, 2014 in Products Liability

With customer safety most likely in mind, General Motors recently announced a recall of 370,000 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado because eight fire incidents had been reported to the company since the models’ release last fall. No injuries have been reported.

The product recall affects all 2014 model pickup trucks that have 5.3-liter and 4.3-liter engines. According to GM, the pickup truck’s exhaust can overheat and catch fire in cold weather. The company says drivers should be alert to the vehicle’s “check engine” and “engine power reduced” lights, which indicate that the truck has gone into what the company calls a “limp-home” mode. A software malfunction apparently causes the engine to heat up enough to melt plastic and start a fire under the hood. Los Angeles drivers may not be aware that GM advises drivers not to let warm their engines unattended.

To deal with the issue, the recalled pickup needs software reprogramming, which may only take 20 minutes at an authorized dealership.

In a demonstration of the importance of the recall, one man’s 2014 Silverado burst into flames just 30 minutes after he received his recall notice. The vehicle had gone into the limp-home mode after warning lights appeared. The man was able to escape before a fireball under the hood destroyed his truck.

This recall potentially affects General Motors’ profits because pickup trucks are the company’s most important products. The Silverado, which was affected by the recall, is the second best-selling vehicle in the country after Ford’s F-truck series.

Product recalls may show that a manufacturer is doing a poor job in product development if the safety of consumers is put at risk. Unsafe products, including defective cars, pose dangers to consumers, ranging from injury to death. Fortunately, every consumer has the legal right to seek redress if injured by an unsafe product.

Source: USA TODAY, “Fire risk: GM recalls 303k Chevy, GMC pickups,” Dec. 31, 2013