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Thursday, 01 December 2011 20:18

GM to Buy Volts Back if Requested

GM has announced that it will buy back any Volt from a dissatisfied customer, according to an interview in the Associated Press. CEO Dan Akerson insisted Dec. 1 that the cars are safe, but said the company will repurchase the Volts because it wants to keep customers happy. Three fires have broken out in Volts after side-impact crash tests done by the federal government.

Akerson said that if necessary, GM will recall the more than 6,000 Volts now on the road in the U.S. and repair them once the company and federal safety regulators figure out what caused the fires.

The company also may redesign the battery for its Volt to address issues raised after federal officials opened a safety probe into the plug-in electric car, CEO Dan Akerson said.

"We want to assure the safety of our customers, of our buyers, and so we're just going to take a time out, if you will, in terms of redesigning the battery possibly," Akerson told Reuters in a separate interview.

GM said it would offer loaner vehicles to about 5,500 Volt owners as it works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on ways to reduce the risk of battery fires breaking out days after crashes involving the car.

The steps came in response to a decision by NHTSA to open an investigation into the safety of the Volt's battery pack. A lithium-ion battery pack in a Volt that had been through a crash test in May caught fire three weeks later at a test facility in Wisconsin, according to NHTSA.

In lab tests completed last week by U.S. safety regulators, a second Volt pack began to smoke and throw off sparks while a third battery pack caught fire a week after a simulated crash.

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