General Motors (GM) needs to repair about nine million parts in millions of cars it has recalled since February 2014. Car owners are frustrated as they wait for weeks or months for the repairs to be completed.
Recalls typically cover 50,000 vehicles or less and are completed in less than five months. But GM’s recalls, which cover 7 million vehicles, is too much to be handled quickly, experts say.
There are processes involved: Suppliers have to make the replacement parts since they don’t stash millions of it. GM has to send their customers notifications about the recalls. The replacement parts have to be shipped to about 4,300 dealers around the world. And mechanics have to be trained in how to do the repairs.
For the recall for faulty ignition switches which involves 2.6 million vehicles and is linked to 13 deaths, GM said it will take six months to produce and distribute the new parts.
There is no estimated time of completion yet for the other recalls.
The faulty switches, which are mostly found in old models of the Saturn Ion and the Chevy Cobalt, can shut off the engine and disable the power steering, antilock brakes and airbags. GM told dealers to provide their customers with loaners until the repairs are done.
GM has been under fire since the recall for the faulty switches because it knows about the problem ten years before it conducted the recall. The Justice Department, together with federal safety regulators, is probing GM’s slow response and determining whether the automaker is guilty of a criminal offense.
GM said it has already shipped thousands of ignition switches and notified 1.4 million customers to make repair appointments.
The other recalls involved airbag troubles, faulty power steering motors, defective drive shafts, transmission oil leaks and, the most recent, rear brakes that might have been placed on the front wheels.