GM recalls keep local dealerships busy

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Service technician Ted Seale works on replacing the ignition switch on one of the recent Chevrolet recalls Tuesday afternoon at Atwood Chevrolet.  Ralph Fitzgerald/The Vicksburg Post

Service technician Ted Seale works on replacing the ignition switch on one of the recent Chevrolet recalls Tuesday afternoon at Atwood Chevrolet. Ralph Fitzgerald/The Vicksburg Post

A widespread recall of more than 8 million General Motor vehicles is expected to keep the service centers at two Vicksburg dealerships busy for upcoming months.

Atwood Chevrolet and George Carr Buick Cadillac GMC — two locally owned GM dealerships — are bracing for a high volume of vehicles in upcoming months due to an 8.2-million vehicle recall in North America, expanding the list of vehicles recalled over faulty ignition switches.

George Carr, who has owned the GM dealership since 1989, said that the Detroit-based company is doing what it can to support the local dealers in addressing customers’ recalled vehicles.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“GM is accepting responsibility,” he said. “We’re providing courtesy transportation for customers whose vehicles are going to take longer. We’re going to try to make it as easy on the customer as possible.”

The announcement Monday brings the number of vehicles recalled to 17.1 million cars with defective switches. Chrysler recalled nearly 700,000 vehicles in North America because it’s ignition switches can slip out of the “drive” position while driving.

Bob Anderton, service manager for George Carr Buick Cadillac GMC, said the average time needed to make the repair is two hours. The caveat, he said, is the increased volume of repairs means some customers could be stuck with long wait times.

His advice is to wait to receive a letter from GM, call the dealership and set up an appointment.

David Osborne, service manager for Atwood Chevrolet, said that recalls have grown more common and complex since the introduction

“Before, you could call me, tell me what was going on with the vehicle and I could probably tell you what was wrong with it,” he said. “Now, we have to hook it up to a diagnostic system and run that because it could be any number of things.”

GM’s latest recalls involve mainly older midsize cars and bring its total recalls in North America to 29 million this year. The new GM recalls cover seven vehicles, including the Chevrolet Malibu from 1997 to 2005, the Pontiac Grand Prix from 2004 to 2008, and the 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS.

The Detroit company said it plans to take a $1.2 billion charge in the second quarter for recall-related expenses. Added to a $1.3 billion charge in the first quarter, that brings total recall expenses for the year to $2.5 billion.

The scope of the problem has brought the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration. On June 18, the agency opened two investigations into ignition switches in Chrysler minivans and SUVs, and acknowledged that it is looking at the whole industry.

Osborne said the system automotive companies use during recalls means customers should be prepared to wait.

“It doesn’t matter who the recall is with, you have to have information from the manufacturer and you have to have supplies from the manufacturer,” he said. “With this current recall, GM’s stepping up to the plate.”

Atwood Chevrolet is also offering courtesy transportation. Both Carr and Atwood have paired with local Enterprise Rent-a-Car outlets — part of a nationwide deal with GM and Enterprise to pair affected customers with vehicles.

As for any long-term ill effects, Carr said he expects both the company and its dealers to weather the current storm.

“In light of all this, we feel like most of our loyal GM customers don’t seem to have lost confidence,” he said.

The recalls for GM this year have alread surpassed the 22 million recalled in 2013.

This year’s recalls touch nearly every GM model besides the Chevrolet Equinox Crossover, GMC Terrain and the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.

Manufacturers in the US have collectively recalled 39 million vehicles in just six months.