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GM recalls more than one million vehicles

2 min

Auto giant General Motors has recalled over 1.3 million vehicles in the United States due to fears that an electrical fault linked to windshield wiper fluid systems could cause them to catch fire, according to US government documents.


AFP - Auto giant General Motors has recalled more than 1.3 million vehicles in the United States over fears that an electrical fault could cause them to catch fire, US government documents showed Tuesday.

The problem, linked to the vehicles' windshield wiper fluid system, affects at least 18 models ranging from Chevrolet trucks to Hummers, documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed.

GM's Buick, Cadillac, and GMC brands are also affected, particularly high-end SUVs and pick-up trucks.

In a letter to customers and US watchdogs, GM -- which received a massive government bailout to stay afloat -- said many of the models had already been involved in a 2008 recall linked to possible electrical shorting.

"However, there have been new reports of thermal incidents," GM said.

The Detroit, Michigan based firm said the new incidents resulted from a flaw in fluid systems' heat insulation.

The incidents ranged from "minor distortion to considerable melting of the plastic around the... fluid chamber."

"In rare circumstances, it is possible for the heated (windshield) washer module to ignite."

At least four fires are thought to have occurred.

GM first notified the US government of potential problems in September 2009, but could affect models dating back to 2006.

In a letter to customers, GM said it would fix the problem "at no charge" and give a "satisfaction payment" of 100 dollars from dealers, spelling a potential payout of more than 136 million dollars for the firm.

The recall is a body-blow to the firm, which is fighting to escape from the shadow of a high-profile bankruptcy.

GM entered a government-backed reorganization on June 1, 2009, with liabilities of 172.8 billion dollars.

The company emerged from bankruptcy on July 10 with 48.4 billion dollars in debt.

In May, the firm saw a quarterly profit for the first time in three years on the back of a jump in sales and cost-cutting measures.

The carmaker said that sales of four brands it retained following restructuring -- Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac -- rose 31.8 percent from May last year.

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