General Motors announced today it has recalled almost 800,000 of its cars after 6 people have died due to accidents involving faulty ignition switches. GM has acknowledged at least 22 accidents involving the ignition switches in some of its Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact models. The problem is attributed to heavy key rings which can accidentally pull the key into the "off" position, an issue which can also happen when the car goes over a bump. According to the Los Angeles Times, GM said in a statement that all of the crashes occurred off-road and at high speeds.
When the key is pulled out of position it causes the engine to stall and turns off most of the electrical components, preventing airbags from deploying. While production of both cars was discontinued years ago, GM says it will have dealers immediately replace the incorrectly manufactured key ignition switch.
Update: GM Doubles the Recall
On February 26, 2014, General Motors announced it will more than double the size of the recall to 1.4 million cars sold in the U.S. GM added 2003-7 Saturn Ions, 2006-7 Chevrolet HHRs and 2006-7 Pontiac Solstice and 2007-10 Saturn Sky models to the recall.
Subsequently, on Friday March 28, 2014, General Motors expanded the GM ignition switch recall further to cover 824,000 newer models of the cars previously recalled. GM said it now will replace the ignition switch in all model years of its Chevrolet Cobalt, HHR, Pontiac G5, Solstice and Saturn Ion and Sky vehicles -- previously, the recall covered on only cars through the 2007 model year.
Learn more about the GM Recall lawsuits.