GM Ignition Switch Recall Costs Reach $2.7 Billion

October 31, 2014

General Motors Co. said recall and car-loan charges for this year rose 8 percent to $2.7 billion, as the company is hit almost daily with new lawsuits over the call-ins.

The Detroit-based automaker spent $680 million to repair defective ignition switches in 2.6 million cars and $325 million to rework or replace ignition keys in 12.1 million cars in the nine months through Sept. 30, according to an Oct. 23 regulatory filing. GM announced recalls of 34 million cars in the period, taking charges for about 32 million of them. That’s up from 29 million recalls and associated costs of $2.5 billion as previously reported for the first half of 2014.

GM last week disclosed details of new suits filed against it in Manhattan federal court, where customers have demanded $10 billion for fallen car prices and other damages allegedly tied to recalls of defective vehicles.

The new complaints against GM came on top of more than 150 cases counted by the carmaker. The suits are bundled together in two group actions in New York or running separately in other federal and state courts. Most accuse GM of hiding known defects for years, putting customers at risk of death, injury or financial loss.

Fight Claims

GM denies that recalls triggered price losses in its cars. The company and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra have said GM will fight all claims except for those by drivers who had accidents in cars with faulty switches.

The ignition switch defect was the carmaker’s highest- profile recall, spurring congressional hearings, a regulatory fine, a California county lawsuit and a federal probe.

Confirmed deaths tied to defective switches have risen to 30 and may spike as new claims are filed before a December deadline set by the automaker for victims to seek money, Kenneth Feinberg, who is handling payments to victims, said last week. Previously, GM had counted about 13 fatalities.

The $10 billion group suit is In re General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, 14-md-02543, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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