General Motors is adding 971,000 cars to its ignition switch recall, which began in February with 1.6 million vehicles and has been linked to a dozen deaths.
The recall, which now totals 2,591,665 cars, includes all model years of the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Saturn Ion, Saturn Sky, Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Solstice made from 2003-2011.
Older versions of those cars, dating from 2003-2007, were recalled in February.
GM said the newer models made after 2007 were equipped with a redesigned ignition switch, but that some of those cars might have been repaired with older replacement parts that may be faulty. The expanded recall includes 824,000 cars in the United States and 971,000 globally, GM said.
GM also is recalling all the replacement ignition switches that have been sent to U.S. aftermarket distributors, the spare parts market. About 95,000 faulty switches were sold to dealers and parts wholesalers.
Reuters reported this week that it was still possible to purchase GM brand ignition switches manufactured by Delphi Automotive carrying the same parts number as the product at the center of the February recall.
These switches may not be defective, but it is nearly impossible to tell unless they are taken apart or the manufacturing history is checked.
GM said Friday that no deaths or injuries have been linked to faulty ignition switches in the newer models that have been added to the recall.
GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said Friday that "we are taking no chances with safety" in replacing the ignition switches on all 2.6 million cars.
Some of the newer cars could have faulty replacement ignitions that could be switched from "run" to "accessory," shutting down the engine and disabling the cars' power steering, power brakes and airbags.
GM had said Thursday that the replacement ignition switch it has ordered from Delphi to use in the recall will bear a new part number that "eliminates any potential confusion about which part to use in the repair."
The spokesman on Friday said GM decided to recall all the replacement parts currently in stock at U.S. parts distributors "out of an abundance of caution."
Separately, General Motors has told dealers to stop selling some 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars but won't say why.
First published March 28 2014, 2:55 PM