GM Recalls Some Chevrolet Cruzes for Front Axle Half-Shafts

Mar 29, 2014 4:20 pm ET

(Updates with end of stop-sell order in the second paragraph.)

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. recalled some 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars with 1.4-liter engines for front axle half-shaft replacement, after earlier ordering dealers to stop selling the models.

Those 20,000 cars, which account for about one-third of Cruze inventory at dealers, can now be sold once the half-shaft is inspected and any needed repairs are made, the Detroit-based automaker said last night in an e-mail. Earlier in the day, GM said it had told Chevy dealers to stop selling some of the cars while declining to say why.

GM said it’s aware of “several dozen” half-shaft fractures through warranty data used to fix Cruzes with manual transmissions which were recalled in September. The latest recall will replace a right front axle half-shaft that can break and separate, causing loss of power to the wheels.

The Cruze isn’t part of the recall of 1.6 million cars that GM has been dealing with in the past month after faulty ignition switches were linked to the deaths of 13 people. The company yesterday expanded that recall by 917,000 vehicles to include more recent model-year vehicles that may have been repaired with faulty parts.

Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra is scheduled to testify next week before panels of the U.S. House and Senate about why it took the automaker more than a decade to fix the cars after the first customer complaints.

Act Faster

“The timing of this stop-sale order might appear unfortunate given the publicity surrounding GM’s ignition switch recall, but it actually illustrates a new approach by the automaker,” Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at car information company Kelley Blue Book, said in a statement. “Rather than waiting for a full understanding and planned fix for the Cruze, GM is apparently stopping sales at the first sign of a problem to remove the potential of endangering customers.”

GM recalled 1.76 million additional models not related to the ignition-switch flaw on March 17 in what the company said was a sign it would recall vehicles sooner and with less study than in the past. Barra also appointed Jeff Boyer to the new position of vice president of vehicle safety to give more focus to the topic.

GM shares rose less than 1 percent to $34.73 in New York trading yesterday.

--With assistance from Jeff Green in Southfield, Michigan, and Dan Hart in Washington.