NHTSA Opens File On Chevy Cruze Fires; Recalls Malibu For Airbag Problem

By Joel Arellano | May 24, 2012
General Motors has not one, but two files open on its vehicles by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, always an uncomfortable position for any automaker. The first involves the Chevrolet Malibu midsized sedan. According to the NHTSA and GM, certain model year 2013 Chevy Malibu models have a software issue in their sensing and diagnostic module, or SDM. The SDM may reset itself under certain conditions (e.g., after hard braking) and activate the Malibu's roof rail airbag. Also, other vehicle airbags and the seatbelt safety systems may not activate correctly in an accident, increasing the chance of injuries to driver and passengers. Approximately 4,304 Chevrolet Malibu sedans are involved in the recall. They were manufactured between October 24, 2011 through March 31, 2012. GM has announced it will start notifying Chevy Malibu owners starting next month. Owners will be asked to bring in their vehicles to the dealerships where technicians will examine the SDM and reprogram it if necessary at GM's expense. Chevrolet Malibu owners can contact Chevrolet at (800) 222-1020 and reference the recall campaign number 12102. Chevy Malibu owners can also contact the NHTSA at (888) 327-4236 and reference campaign ID number 12V224000. Note that no accidents, injuries, or fatalities have been reported involving this issue.
The second NHTSA file involves the all-new Chevrolet Cruze. Last month, Automotive.com posted that the federal agency had opened an investigation on the 2011 Chevy Cruze and the 2010 Jeep Wrangler. Both vehicles are under investigation for reported vehicle fires. Two fires were reported involving the Chevrolet Cruze while the Jeep Wrangler had eight. Now the NHTSA has expanded its investigation to include the 2012 Chevy Cruze compact sedan. The new investigation now covers around 370,000 Cruze vehicles. Previously, 177,000 Chevrolet Cruze sedans would have been affected by the investigation. Both automakers continue to cooperate with the agency. Says GM spokesperson Alan Adler, "We are unaware of any injuries or fatalities in these cases. We are conducting our own investigation and will share any findings with the government." Sources: Detroit News, NHTSA