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GM recalls 1.3 million cars for steering defect

By CBS/AP 10:27 PM March 31, 2014

General Motors (GM) is recalling 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. because the electronic power-steering assist can suddenly stop working.

Included in the recall are the Chevrolet Malibu, Malibu Maxx, Chevrolet HHR, Saturn Aura, Saturn Ion and Pontiac G6. Model years vary, but all of the vehicles are from the 2010 model year or earlier.

A GM spokesman said the company is aware of some crashes and injuries that may have been caused by the loss of power steering in affected vehicles. The automaker is unaware of any “confirmed” fatalities related to the latest problems, he said by email, noting that the company is reviewing “potentially relevant” data.

The new recall brings to 6.1 million the number of vehicles GM has recalled since February. The initial recall — now at 2.6 million small cars for an ignition switch defect — prompted the automaker to name a new safety chief and speed up pending recalls.

The company expects recall-related costs to total $750 million in the first quarter.

In the latest recall, dealers will replace the power steering motor and other parts for free.

If power steering assist is lost, a message displays on the Driver Information Center and a chime sounds to inform the driver,” GM said in a statement. “Steering control can be maintained because the vehicle will revert to manual steering, but greater driver effort would be required at low vehicle speeds, which could increase the risk of a crash.”

GM shares, which closed at $34.42, were down less than 1 percent in after-hours trading.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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