In a product recall that echoes the one that has plunged General Motors into a safety crisis, the automaker on Friday said it will recall 511,528 current model Chevrolet Camaro cars, mainly in North America, to correct an issue with the ignition switch.
GM said a driver's knee can bump the key fob and move the ignition switch out of the "run" position, causing the engine to shut off.
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Earlier this year, GM recalled 2.6 million small cars worldwide because of an ignition switch failure in which a bump of the key fob can turn off the engine, disabling power steering and airbags. That defect was not reported to consumers for years and has been linked to at least 13 deaths and caused a re-examination led by Chief Executive Mary Barra of how the company handles safety recalls.
But GM said the new recall, affecting Camaros of model years 2010 to 2014, is not like the one involving older-model Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion cars.
"It's not at all related to the Cobalt," GM safety spokesman Alan Adler said in an interview. "The condition here is a switchblade key" in which a key pops out of the key fob when a small button is depressed.
While the switches in the Camaro are different from those in the Cobalt and Ion, some of the issues are similar: When the key fob is bumped and the switch is moved out of the run position, the engine can turn off, causing loss of power steering and failure of airbags to deploy in a crash.
GM said it is aware of three crashes causing four minor injuries linked to the issue in Camaro, a sporty two-door car.
Adler said the air bags did not deploy in any of the three rashes. He said he did not know when the crashes occurred or the details of them.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is responsible for overseeing safety defects and recalls, had not posted an official Camaro recall notice as of mid-morning Friday, but the agency has received and posted several complaints from consumers.
A complaint dated May 6 on the 2014 Camaro noted "knee bumped key, engine turned off at 60 mph." There were no injuries or deaths reported in that incident.
"The Camaro ignition system meets all GM engineering specifications and is unrelated to the ignition system used in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars included in the ignition switch recall," GM said in a statement.
Adler said GM discovered the issue in the Camaro as it was testing a wide range of its models after the widely publicized small-car ignition switch recall.
Jeff Boyer, appointed to the new position of vice president for GM global safety earlier this year in response to the small-car ignition switch recall, said the Camaro recall was a quick action that is "the new norm for product safety at GM," according to the press statement.
Barra is to appear before Congress next Wednesday, her second trip to Congress on the small-car ignition switch recall.
GM said it will send letters to owners shortly advising them to visit dealers to get a new key made.