On February 13, 2014, General Motors Company (GM) announced a recall of Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 vehicles (models 2005 through 2007). The recall was prompted by problems with the ignition switch that could cause the key to unintentionally turn to the “off” or “accessory” positions, which in turn results in loss of power to the engine and various electrical components. In addition, airbags of the affected vehicles might not deploy if the ignition is inadvertently moved out of the “run” position, “increasing the risk of injury or fatality.” Such abnormal ignition switch behavior could be triggered by added weight to the key ring or if the vehicles experience “jarring event[s].” The safety issue has been linked to at least 13 deaths.

GM later expanded the scope of the recall (on February 25th and March 28th) to encompass all model years of the Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR, Pontiac G5 and Solstice, Saturn Ion (including models going back to 2003) and Sky.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations “will examine how GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration… responded to complaints from customers about the ignition switch and non-deployment of airbags.” The Subcommittee is part of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, a legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.