By Bernie Woodall and Paul Lienert
DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co is preparing to recall about 33,000 Chevrolet Cruze sedans with potentially defective air bags made by troubled Japanese supplier Takata Corp, the automaker said late Wednesday.
In a crash, the driver-side air bag on the 2013-2014 Cruze could fail to inflate, GM said.
The issue is not directly related to other problems with Takata air bags that have led to the recall of about 10.5 million vehicles worldwide, many of them made by Honda Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp, including 3 million earlier this week.
With the Cruze, GM is “moving quickly to identify the vehicles involved, and other facts, including whether there are any accidents or injuries, all of which will be shared” with U.S. safety regulators, GM spokesman Jim Cain said.
GM expects to file an official recall notice “soon” with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Cain said.
GM earlier this year recalled 21,000 Cruze sedans from model year 2012, also equipped with Takata air bags that could fail to inflate in a crash because of electrical problems.
GM on Wednesday had initially advised its North American dealers not to sell new and used Cruze sedans on their lots. Later in the day, GM said “many” of the 33,000 affected cars are in customers’ hands, and the rest with dealers.
The Cruze is GM’s top-selling car in North America. GM has built about half a million 2013-2014 model year Cruze sedans since October 2012.
For model year 2013, GM introduced a new Takata “smart” driver-side air bag on the Cruze, which the automaker said helps reduce the risk of injury in crashes.
On Wednesday, Cain said that Takata air bags on some 2013-2014 Cruze sedans “may have been assembled with an incorrect part.”
Production of Cruze sedans continues at GM’s plant in Lordstown, Ohio, he said.
The latest issues with the Cruze follow a series of safety-related problems that have plagued GM since early this year, many of them because of air bag-related issues.
So far this year, GM has issued 44 recalls covering about 20 million vehicles globally. Among those recalls is one for older model Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM small cars with faulty ignition switches, which have been linked to the deaths of at least 13 people.
(Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Chris Reese, Steve Orlofsky, Cynthia Osterman and Ken Wills)