General Motors has cleared one of its current hurdles, which was to be up to speed with 1.2 million ignition switch kits. Now the hard part is finding remaining owners of recalled GM cars.
Automotive News reports that there are roughly 1 million GM owners who haven’t contacted the automaker to replace a defective ignition switch that has led to several federal investigations. Both GM and its dealerships are purging customer databases to find owners − owners who may be several degrees removed from the original buyer of a respective vehicle. They are working with registration data from IHS Automotive to find these owners, according to GM’s vice president of North American customer care and aftersales, Tim Turvey.
Earlier in August, GM mailed letters from CEO Mary Barra to all known owners of the recalled cars who have yet to complete the repairs. Some have ordered parts but haven’t completed the process, while others have yet to begin the process.
So what becomes of the old parts? According to Turvey, “We’ve used some extraordinary tactics that we’ve never deployed before,” such as purchasing old steering columns to “retrieve and destroy” potentially defective switches. GM has also “contracted with third-party companies” to find switches from salvage yards.
Dealership are even holding “recall nights” for customers to get their ignition switches fixed after the work day − even late in the evening. Says Todd McCallum of the LaFontaine Automotive Group, “We’re fixing a lot more cars now, and the process is moving much more smoothly,” now that the wait time for the new parts has been cut from 90 days to about a week.