General Motors has become the latest company forced into a recall after uncovering power steering problems potentially affecting over a million cars, with bosses saying Toyota was partly to blame.
This followed an announcement from the Detroit-based company that it was to triple its investment in Europe to stabilise the business and win support from governments in the region.
GM announced today it needed to fix a motor in the power steering system for 1.3 million Pontiacs and Chevrolets across the Americas.
The group said the fault is related to a part developed by Jtekt, a supply joint backed by Toyota, the group that has been forced to recall millions of vehicles in the past few months.
Jamie Hresko, GM vice president of quality, said the company was working to fix the problem, adding that while the cars were still safe to drive “recalling these vehicles is the right thing to do for our customers' peace of mind.”
“After our in-depth investigation, we found that this is a condition that takes time to develop. It tends to occur in older models out of warranty,” said Mr Hresko.
GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSA) about the recall on Monday, after it had finished the investigation started in 2009.
The NHSA launched a probe of its own into 905,000 Cobalt models in the US at the end of January, after more than 1,100 complaints of loss of power steering. The fault had been connected to 14 crashes and one injury.
The cars found to have been affected by the power steering issues include the US comprise the Chevrolet Cobalt sold between 2005 and 2010, and the Pontiac G5 released between 2005 and 2006. In Canada, GM is calling in Pontiac Pursuits sold between 2005 and 2006, and the Pontiac G4s sold in Mexico during the same period.
Some of the drivers found the power steering would fail, but the company added that the vehicle “can still be safely controlled because the customer can still steer the vehicle”.
This marks the latest company to recall its vehicles after Toyota was forced to recall more than eight million vehicles in the US, Europe and China over safety issues.
These issues first focused on problems with drivers finding the accelerator pedal was getting stuck under the floor mats, while others found the risk of a jammed pedal sent the car out of control.
Last month, the group announced it would recall 8,500 Prius models in the UK over what it called an “inconsistent brake feel” while braking on bumpy roads. Ford, Honda, Nissan and Suzuki have also announced recalls.
This comes on the day that GM announced it would up its funding for its Opel business in Germany and Vauxhall in the UK to €1.9bn. Previously the group had hoped European governments would provide €2.7bn in funding support, but as the option looked less likely it agreed to up its investment in return for less than €2bn in loan guarantees.
While the UK, Spain, Poland and Austria, all of which have significant GM manufacturing operations, approved the company’s restructuring plan, Germany dragged its heels.
Nick Reilly, head of Opel and Vauxhall, said the commitment “should signal our determination to fix our business” and was optimistic its new plan would be well met in Europe.