The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had investigated a windshield-wiper flaw before GM issued the 2008 recall. The regulator in 2004 fined GM $1 million, at the time its largest civil penalty, to settle charges the company failed to conduct a timely recall of about 600,000 vehicles for wipers that stopped working or failed to turn on when needed.
Micro-Heat, which filed for bankruptcy in 2008 after GM stopped offering its HotShot wiper-fluid heater, was based in Farmington Hills, Michigan. GM in 2008 said Micro-Heat should bear the $19.2 million cost of recalling 944,000 cars and trucks for the earlier recall, according to court papers in the bankruptcy filing.
“This was a unique technology available from only one supplier, and that supplier has stopped manufacturing, which left no opportunity to collaborate on an improved design,” said Jeff Boyer, GM executive director of safety, in the statement. “The voluntary payment to customers is for the loss of the feature, not the recall.” Today’s recall includes 1,365,070 vehicles in the U.S., 98,794 in Canada, 26,228 in Mexico and 38,093 exported to other countries, GM said.
Vehicles included in the U.S. recall are the Buick Enclave and Lucerne; Cadillac CTS, DTS, Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT; Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado 3500, Suburban, Tahoe and Traverse; GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL; Hummer H2; and Saturn Outlook.
NHTSA this year fined Toyota, based in Toyota City, Japan, $16.4 million, the highest civil penalty, for delays in notifying the agency about unintended acceleration defects.