General Motors knew of ignition switch problems with 6.7 million midsize and large cars for 11 years, yet it failed to warn customers with a recall until last month, according to documents posted by federal safety regulators. The documents, released Friday, show yet again that GM was slow to correct safety problems on its older models. And it exposes a familiar pattern of ignition switch troubles in millions of vehicles, some dating to 1997. In most cases, the ignition switches can slip out of the "run" position, shutting down the engine and knocking out power steering and brakes. Drivers can lose control of their cars, and if they crash, the air bags won't work. In a chronology filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM said a Michigan dealership reported a 2003 complaint from a customer about a Pontiac Grand Am stalling. It issued a service bulletin and later changed the switch on several models, but didn’t issue the recall until this year. The changes and three deaths possibly linked to the problem were discovered in GM's safety review earlier this year.
-The Associated Press