Fox & Farley, Attorneys at Law

Rental car companies attempted to warn GM of problems

Tennessee drivers may have heard of a large car recall involving General Motors. According to a recent report, rental car agencies noted issues with their GM vehicles for many years before the recall began, and a recent slew of document releases illustrate the rental agencies’ growing concern as the accident rate continued to rise.

Early in 2014, GM recalled their Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and four other models that were sold in the U.S. The recall notice cited a fault in the ignition switch that when bumped, could cause engines to switch off and air bag systems to fail. This brings the total number of vehicles that GM has recalled for ignition problems to 16 million, a number higher than the 9.71 million cars they sold worldwide last year.

Car rental corporations. such as Vanguard and Enterprise, reportedly attempted to raise issues of malfunctioning products since 2005, when rental cars such as the Saturn Ion began to experience unexplained crashes that seemed attributable to problems with the braking or the steering. Crashes where the airbags had apparently failed to deploy properly were also cause for concern. Prior to the recall action, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration attempted to gather information from a number of sources, including rental agencies, but they were unable to assemble enough information to trigger a regulatory recall.

The recent documents released by car-rental companies might support allegations of negligence and liability against GM and may be used in lawsuits filed against the car-making company. Those who are involved in car accidents that might have been caused by a faulty part in a vehicle may be able to name the car’s maker as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Rental-car companies pushed GM on fatal crashes before recall”, Jeff Plungis and Tim Higgins , July 31, 2014

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