GM Dealers Say Owners Of Recalled Models Are In A ‘Panic’ Over Safety Of Affected Vehicles5
The high-ups at General Motors are feeling the brunt of the backlash from the recall of more than 2.6 million cars over faulty ignition switches. CEO Mary Barra was questioned at length by Congress last week, where she also met up with the families of those who died as a result of the faulty switch and listened to their stories of loss. The effects of the recall aren’t limited to GM’s high ranking executives though, it also has owners and operators of GM dealerships worried about their business.
“It’s a little bit unnerving because GM is on the front page – not of the business section, but the front page of the paper and the lead story on the news every day,” John McEleney, owner of McEleney Chevrolet in Clinton, Iowa, told Businessweek. “People are concerned because they’re GM owners and they see all this publicity regarding GM.”
BW notes the dealers have had to act as pseudo therapists for the customers, who have flooded dealer phone lines with questions and concerns in regards to the recall. Dealers claim customers are confused and concerned about the recall and frequently call in asking if their car is one of the affected models and if it is safe to drive. GM has assured customers the vehicles are safe to drive so long as they remove any keys from their key ring which may provoke the key to fall out of the ‘On’ position. Barra has stated she would be comfortable with her teenage son driving one of the recalled models.
Jim Stutzman, a Chevrolet-Cadillac dealer in Winchester, Virginia, said the recall has caused less comfort among his customers.
“This stirs our owners who are in possession of those cars into a panic,” said Stutzman. “It’s setting this thing up like it’s this catastrophic emergency situation and that they could be killed at any moment driving their car. And that’s not the case.”
Stutzman says the congressional hearings GM underwent last week have caused similar damage to the company’s reputation as the hearings in regards to its government bailout and 2009 bankruptcy filing did.
“It’s like reliving the bankruptcy experience all over again,” he said. “There are people who have walked away from General Motors products and dealers because they felt the bailout was wrong.”
Now, just like with the bankruptcy, some customers are giving up on GM and turning away because of the recall.
“We had great momentum coming out of February,” Stutzman said. “Then we definitely saw a slowdown in our traffic and people’s interest in our products. I don’t think we’re alone. When we talk to other dealers in our region, I think a lot of people are feeling it.”
Dealers will have the opportunity to relinquish any negative opinions customers have formed about them when owners begin to come in for ignition switch repairs starting today. This gives dealers the chance to treat the customer well and resolve their problem in a quick fashion. It also lets dealers inform customers about the $500 rebates being offered to owners of recalled vehicles to purchase a new model, though GM has advised dealers to do this in a ‘respectful’ manner.
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
I have a 2008 Saturn Sky. At 50 mph I turned off the ignition switch and was able to steer the car and brake safely to a stop. The media’s reporting implies that with the ignition switch off there is complete loss of steering and braking.
but if you were in an accident, you would have no airbags. And if you were in traffic, are you that confident you’d still be able to safely control the car? People don’t necessarily get out of your way.
Yes, I am confident that in traffic I could steer safely and bring the vehicle to a safe stop. I do not know the status of the air bag with the ignition turned off. That is another reason to always use a seat belt (and it’s state law) as the air bag is a SRS “supplemental restraint system”
Cars stall all the time for various reasons with the loss of power steering but the steering still works and the power boost in the brakes normally has enough power for one to two stops before it is gone.
This whole deal is like the movie Jaws. Before the movie there was an occasion attack. After the movie you heard all kinds of stories and people were even afraid of fresh water lakes but the sharks did not attack there and the deaths and injuries were extremely rare.
Get this in the media and you will hear all sorts of claims and fears.
Here is the reality.
I see it as three groups. The ones who are over panicked, the group that understands and will get it fixed but not over panic. Then you have the final group that will not pay attention and will not bring the car in.
The steering will not lock and even if the air bags do not go off that is not a death sentence. Of the deaths reported in detail most have two common elements, No seat belt use and speeding. A couple also were DUI.
This is why I would love to see the details of the other 10 deaths. I am sure there are a couple of bad timing for it to happen like pulling out in front of a Semi etc. Suspect most happened when the driver was not in full control and or belted in.
Generally as the post state situational awareness generally negates any major risk of a ignition shutting odd. Too few people today have that.
Again to all the panic people I am not absolving GM of the bad switch but I am not going to blame them for people that were not belted in and or under the influence. GM has some responsibility but the ultimate responsibility remains with the driver. If he or see is not belted in, speeding and or drunk then they put them selves in a situation that they could have survived even with the GM failure.
It’s impossible to engineer common sense.
Is a miracle, that this country has lasted so long with an over abundance of easily frightened people.
I plan to use my $500 rebate.