GM recall a sign of a checkered past

2006 Chevrolet Cobalt coupe

On Tuesday, GM announced a recall for about 1.3 million vehicles in North America. Models include the Chevrolet Cobalt and various Pontiacs (depending on the country you’re in). The reason is for a faulty power steering problem that can make it hard to maneuver. No deaths have been reported from these problems and they do not make the car impossible to control, just harder. Also, it is basically one model that has the problems, but GM’s big and ugly past still has some remnants today and the strategy of building one car then re-badging it under more than one GM brand has burned them again.

When I first saw the headline about this GM recall, it did not say which models were affected. My initial thought was exactly the Cobalt and/or a Pontiac model. I knew it was a matter of time until the Cobalt would be recalled because I test drove that car a while back and it literally made me laugh out loud. It was painfully clear to me within the first 30 seconds and definitely as soon as I started driving that it was an incredibly poorly built vehicle. It was obvious to me that eventually this car would come back to haunt GM.

Pontiacs, for the most part, have been poorly built for some years now and it is no surprise that they need to be recalled. Luckily for GM, they now know which of their cars are not worth the sheet metal they’re made out of and have already designed the Chevy Cruze to replace the Cobalt in the not too distant future. They also decided to scrap the entire Pontiac brand, both very good and correct moves on their part.

I don’t think that this news will hurt GM too badly because people are still thinking about the Toyota recalls which were much more important in terms of their scope (most of the company’s model line-up). The Toyota recalls were/are also a lot more serious due the potential danger that the problem can cause drivers and passengers. Also, if GM handles it correctly, they should be able to explain to the public that this is not a result of the new GM but rather, a skeleton from the old GM’s closet that was just late to arrive. This means that people should not be too worried about the company in general like they are about Toyota, and rightfully so.

However, that doesn’t mean you should be looking to buy the Chevrolet Cobalt. I have always advised since the first one rolled out on to showrooms that the Cobalt should be avoided like the plague. The same goes for most Pontiacs.