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GM Recalls 150,000 Chevy Cruze Sedans

Focus is potential steering problem.

by on May.05, 2011

Chevy recalls the new Cruze.

General Motors, which is hoping to crack the long Japanese stranglehold on the small car market, has suffered a potentially setback, the maker announcing it will recall 150,000 of its Chevrolet Cruze sedans.

The maker says it needs to inspect the vehicles to ensure their intermediate steering shaft covers were properly installed.

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Meanwhile, about 120,000 of the vehicles will also be inspected due to the possibility of a problem with the installation of their automatic transmission linkage.

The vehicles, all from the 2011 model-year, were produced at the GM assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

GM says it has no reports of any accidents or injuries connected with the problems and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has no reports or consumer complaints on file.

Nonetheless, the news is a setback for GM, which has been hoping to use the Cruze as part of its campaign to regain a presence in the passenger car market, especially in smaller, more fuel-efficient segments.

The Cruze goes up against some of the toughest competitors in the compact market, including the well-established Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic.  Honda is, in fact, in the midst of launching an all-new Civic – but the maker recently warned dealers that supplies will be short in the coming months due to the ongoing shortage of Japanese-made parts.

Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, has said his dealer network expects to see inventories of some Japanese offerings slip by half.

Whether consumers will react negatively to the recall remains to be seen.  The good news for GM is that sales of the Cruze have been steadily rising since a slow 2010 launch.  Chevy sold more than 25,000 of the sedans in April, an 84% increase over demand for the old Chevrolet Cobalt the year before.

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