General Motors has fired 15 employees and disciplined a handful of others in the fallout over faulty ignition switches. It is a defect that is being blamed for 54 crashes and at least 13 deaths.
Drivers affected by the recall are rushing their cars to dealerships, and then waiting sometimes weeks for a fix. Dealerships are doing all they can to take care of the problem by replacing the defective equipment as quickly as possible.
Mechanics say they appreciate the patience of their customers through the process.
"It's a little bit of a lag,” said Sandy Fewell, Jim Price Automotive chief operating officer.
Drivers of Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other GM cars from select years have headed to dealerships like Jim Price in Albemarle County to make sure their cars run safely.
Fewell says the process can take a few weeks because dealerships have to order the replacement parts - specific to your vehicle identification number - then wait for them to arrive for the install.
"We'll get in a basic locked cylinder. And that locked cylinder will have to be coded to brand-new keys, which customers will get two of those and also the electrical part of the ignition,” said Danny Meadows, Jim Price Automotive Parts Manager.
Meadows says the defect on the recalled cars led to problems for some drivers because it weighed down the ignition. National reports say at least 13 people died as a result of the flaw. There are allegations the real number may be higher.
"It's been a trying time. I really appreciate all of our customers, knowing that we're here to help them and giving us that opportunity to get it fixed and get them back on the roads to where they're safe and secure,” said Fewell.
Drivers of recalled cars have the option of picking up a rental car provided by the company.
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