Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

GM answers recall questions

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DETROIT -- General Motors CEO Mary Barra is reaching out directly to customers, as GM tries to counter bad publicity from a recall of cars with a potentially deadly ignition switch defect.

GM posted five videos of Barra on its website Wednesday answering questions about the recall of 1.6 million compact cars to fix the ignition switches. The company also said Barra listened in on customer calls for about a half hour last Thursday at the automaker's suburban Detroit call centre, although none of the callers spoke about the recall.

GM has acknowledged it knew about the problem for at least a decade but did not recall the cars until last month. The problem is linked to at least 12 deaths.

In the short videos, Barra assures viewers the compact cars are safe, as long as they remove everything from their key rings. GM has said that weight dangling from the rings can cause the ignition to slide out of the run position into accessory or off. That shuts down the engine and disables power-assisted steering, power brakes and airbags. As a result, a driver can lose control of their car.

Barra, who became CEO Jan. 15, also tells people replacement ignition switches will be available starting April 7, so GM can start fixing the cars.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2014 B7

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