While General Motors has been diligent in rounding up owners whose cars may have defective ignition switches, there are still 1.2 million cars with owners who have been unresponsive to GM’s efforts eight months later.
Part of the problem is that the defect doesn’t give trouble in the daily lives of most people driving, so perhaps they haven’t grasped how serious the problem really is. Some owners claim they haven’t heard of the recall despite letters sent that in no uncertain terms suggest the defect can lead to injury and even death, yet only about 49 percent of the affected vehicles have been repaired.
One way GM is reaching out to those lost in the shuffle is to reach out to them via phone calls and Facebook.
“In some cases we’ve gone to the owners’ home and gotten the vehicle, gave them a loaner, and are working to fix it,” said CEO Mary Barra last week.
Fox Business tells the story of 24 year-old Kim Atkins, a media relations specialist from Texas who received recall notices in April and June for her 2007 Cobalt. She ignored both, citing being busy with moving and starting a new job and adding, “I didn’t think it was very serious just from the wording on the recall notice. “I’m sure that it was important. I didn’t get a sense of what the actual issue was, just neglected to do it.” However, her fiancé has taken her to task for sitting on it, so she has an appointment to bring her Cobalt into the shop this week. She also has removed everything from her keychain as instructed by GM.
Atkins’ response is not unusual, as the average completion rate 18 months after a recall begins is 75 percent, according to federal safety regulators. “People just don’t want to be bothered,” says senior editor for Edmunds.com, John O’Dell. “They don’t see this as a problem. ‘It’s not happening to me.’ Then they just forget about it.”