GM adding 971,000 vehicles to ignition recall

DEE-ANN DURBIN TOM KRISHER AP Auto Writers Published:

DETROIT -- General Motors is boosting by 971,000 the number of small cars being recalled worldwide for a defective ignition switch, saying cars from the model years 2008-11 may have gotten the part as a replacement.

The latest move brings the total number of cars affected to 2.6 million. The questionable handling of the problem, including GM's admission that it knew the switches were possibly defective as early as 2001, has embarrassed the nation's largest automaker. The recalls -- which are under investigation by Congress and federal regulators -- have overshadowed the improved quality of GM's newer cars.

GM previously announced the recall of 1.6 million cars, only through the 2007 model year, which were built with the faulty switch. The recall involves six cars: the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky.

GM says it sold 95,000 faulty switches to dealers and aftermarket wholesalers for use as replacement parts. Of those, 90,000 were used to repair vehicles from the 2003-07 model years. But 5,000 of the switches were used to fix cars from the 2008-11 model years.

GM said it doesn't know which cars got those 5,000 switches, so it needs to recall all of them. Of the cars being added to the recall, 824,000 were sold in the U.S.

Biden for higher minimum wage: Vice President Joe Biden says raising the federal minimum wage is good for business. Biden is delivering the White House's weekly radio and Internet address in place of President Barack Obama, who was traveling this week. He's urging Congress to pass Obama's proposed wage hike to $10.10 per hour. Biden says fair wages generate worker loyalty, leading to higher productivity and less turnover. He says it boosts the economy by generating $19 billion in additional income for the neediest people. Biden says raising the minimum wage also helps women, who earn less on average than their male counterparts.

Republicans speak in Las Vegas: Two of the nation's highest-profile Republican governors on Saturday called for more aggressive leadership on America's challenges abroad, emphasizing their support for Israel as they courted powerful Jewish donors. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also stoked speculation about their own presidential ambitions as they gave frustrated Republicans advice on how to reclaim the White House in 2016 after losing two straight elections. The Republican speakers at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual spring gathering in Las Vegas largely avoided criticizing President Barack Obama by name in remarks that were thick with rhetoric faulting Obama's foreign policy while offering few specifics.

UAW membership increases: The United Auto Workers said its membership grew by nearly 9,000 people last year, the union said in a filing with Department of Labor in New York, the fourth-straight year that the union has rebuilt its depleted ranks. UAW's due-paying membership now stands at 391,415, compared to 382,513 in 2012. The UAW's hit a low of 355,191 in 2009, the year when both General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. Annual dues collected by the UAW, the union's main source of income, have fallen more than 40 percent from 2006 to 2013. However, the drop appears to have stabilized this year, as total dues in 2013 were $115.1 million, up slightly from $115 million in 2012.

Aftershock is 4.1: A magnitude-4.1 aftershock has rattled parts of Southern California where a moderate quake occurred the day before. The U.S. Geological Survey says the aftershock struck shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday near Los Angeles. A magnitude-5.1 earthquake centered 25 miles south of Los Angeles hit Friday night, cracking foundations and causing evacuations. There were no reports of major damage or injuries. More than 100 aftershocks have followed the initial quake.

Indian remains found: A 14-year-old boy digging a trout pond in the backyard of his father's Salt Lake City home stumbled across a surprise: the remains of an American Indian who lived about 1,000 years ago. Experts from the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts spent Friday removing the remains, which were confirmed by medical examiners as those of a person from a millennium ago, and investigating the site for archaeological clues after ninth-grader Ali Erturk's discovery earlier in the week. A forensic anthropologist will analyze the remains to try to learn more, including the person's gender and cultural affiliation. A report will go to the state Division of Indian Affairs, which will try to determine whether the remains are linked to current tribes.

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