— The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is trying to convince federal safety regulators that General Motors should not be allowed to skip recalling millions of vehicles with defective Takata airbag inflators.
According to CAS, GM continues to reference a GMT900 investigation conducted by an outside company that allegedly found the airbag inflators will be safe for the next 30 years.
The problem? General Motors is the company that funded the research, leaving questions about the allegedly unbiased nature of the results.
The automaker has filed three petitions for inconsequentiality over the past three years with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking safety regulators to exempt the automaker from recalling these vehicles.
- 2007-2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- 2007-2011 Chevrolet Avalanche
- 2007-2011 Chevrolet Tahoe
- 2007-2011 Chevrolet Suburban
- 2007-2011 GMC Sierra 1500
- 2007-2011 GMC Yukon
- 2007-2011 GMC Yukon XL
- 2007-2011 Cadillac Escalade
- 2007-2011 Cadillac Escalade EXT
- 2007-2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV
- 2009-2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500
- 2009-2011 GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500
GM estimates the recalls will cost nearly $1 billion to replace Takata airbag inflators, causing safety advocates to claim the automaker is fine with forcing customers to drive dangerous vehicles solely to hold onto money.
The Center says GM's arguments for not recalling the vehicles don't make sense, especially when GM claims recalling the vehicles would make them less safe than they are with Takata airbags. In documents GM sent to federal safety regulators, the automaker says:
“A recall of GMT900 vehicles would disrupt original equipment developed and validated as part of a fully integrated safety system in millions of vehicles creating a risk to consumers with no corresponding safety benefit based on the findings of GM’s investigation.” - General Motors
General Motors is in effect arguing that vehicles are safer with equipment originally installed at the assembly plant compared to replacement equipment installed by GM dealers. CAS says to follow this logic one must also believe that all recalls performed by dealers create more safety concerns than before the recalls.
Additionally, NHTSA should immediately investigate GM's recall process if the automaker has no confidence in its dealerships to fix safety defects by using replacement parts.
"Unless GM proves that it studied this issue and can demonstrate that its statements are accurate, NHTSA and the public should reject them." - Center for Auto Safety
The Center also has concerns about GM possibly concealing details the airbags could rapidly fail beyond a certain date while having no plan to correct the dangers by that date. If that's the case, CAS says GM is deceiving its customers into believing the vehicles are safer than they are.
CAS further claims the GM study seems to use the words "modest” and “large” as having the same meaning, a problem when you're talking about a modest or large chance of an airbag exploding.
And according to CAS, GM's conclusions conflict with the data that is provided and crucial data is allegedly left out of the findings of the investigation.
The Center also sees problems with the "predictive aging model" GM used to conclude the Takata airbags will be safe for the next 30 years. The automaker allegedly neglected in the predictive aging model to include the dangers of shock and vibration to the airbag inflators, leaving the 30-year claim questionable.
“In short, there are grave consequences if GMT900 vehicles are not recalled and their airbag systems not repaired. The GMT900 Investigation does not provide sufficient grounds for avoiding a recall and is so flawed that NHTSA should not consider it in its decision-making process."
The GMT900 investigation also allegedly ignores various driving environments that could impact the inflators over time and GM has offered no plans about how it will remedy the problems.
CarComplaints.com has complaints about the trucks and SUVs referenced by the Center for Auto Safety.
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - All model years
- Chevrolet Avalanche - 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- Chevrolet Tahoe - 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- Chevrolet Suburban - 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- GMC Sierra 1500 - 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- GMC Yukon - 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- Cadillac Escalade - 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- Cadillac Escalade EXT - 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- Chevrolet Silverado 2500 - 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- Chevrolet Silverado 3500 - 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- GMC Sierra 2500 - 2009 / 2010 / 2011
- GMC Sierra 3500 - 2009 / 2010 / 2011