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GM Kept Selling Defective Key Years After Recalling It

The faulty ignition key for certain Camaros could inadvertently shut off the car, the power brakes, and possibly the air bags

© Provided by Consumers Union of United States, Inc.

By Keith Barry, Consumer Reports

Despite recalling a potentially dangerous ignition key more than five years ago, GM continued to sell it as a replacement part to owners of 2010 through 2015 Chevrolet Camaros.

General Motors originally recalled the faulty key in June 2014 because a driver could knock it with their knee and inadvertently change the position of the key in the ignition, increasing the risk of a crash. That's because the key movement could unexpectedly shut off the car’s engine and disable the brakes, power steering, and even air bags.

GM is now recalling the faulty key again after an employee discovered it was still for sale by GM as a replacement part. Though recalled for use with the Camaro, the switchblade-like “flip” design key is still used for other GM vehicles not involved in the recall.

CR found that it still remains listed for sale from various third-party online sellers as a replacement part for the Camaro. 

“It’s outrageous that GM left thousands of its customers at risk for more than five years after its ignition-switch recalls,” said William Wallace, CR’s manager of safety policy. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should get to the bottom of why this wasn’t discovered or reported sooner. If GM didn’t follow the law, NHTSA should issue steep fines to deter future misconduct.”

GM spokesman Dan Flores told CR in an email that the automaker is not aware of any crashes, injuries, or fatalities due to faulty Camaro keys.

The original 2014 recall was similar to—but separate from—a massive recall of more than 15 million Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, Cadillac, and Saturn vehicles that took place around the same time. That recall involved a faulty ignition switch, not a poorly designed key, and was linked to at least 124 fatalities and hundreds of injuries.

© Provided by Consumers Union of United States, Inc.

The recalled keys fit 2010 through 2015 model year Camaro coupes and convertibles and had a switchblade-like “flip” design that extended directly from the remote locking fob.

To remedy the issue, Chevrolet changed the design of the key, removing the flip-out blade and replacing it with a traditional key that attached to the fob with a ring. However, Chevrolet continued to sell the “flip” key as a replacement to Camaro owners until a GM employee noticed the issue and brought it up in an internal safety review.

According to Flores, the keys were still for sale "due to an error in our online parts catalog. They are not available anymore."

Owners of these faulty replacement keys can contact customer service at 1-800-222-1020. Dealers will replace the switchblade key with a traditional key and fob. NHTSA’s number for this recall is 19E064 GM's number for this recall is N192223230.


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Autos News: GM Kept Selling Defective Key Years After Recalling It
GM Kept Selling Defective Key Years After Recalling It
The faulty ignition key for certain Camaros could inadvertently shut off the car, the power brakes, and possibly the air bags
Autos News
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