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GM – Recalls Keep Growing – No End In Sight!

By now you are aware of at least some of the safety problems that General Motors is embroiled into, but you may not be aware of the current scope of this. Let’s attempt to put this into perspective so that you can both be aware and protect yourself

Here it is the middle of May 2014, and GM has just disclosed another 2.6 Million car safety recall. This brings the total recall size to 15.4 Million cars so far in 2014 – and we still have 7 more months to go.

In 2013 GM manufactured less than 10 Million vehicles world wide, so this latest recall puts the current total at more than 1.5 times their yearly production.

If you do not own a GM made car, truck or minivan you may think that you are safe. But nothing can be further from the truth. And hopefully with a little knowledge you can protect yourself.

Fortunately for us, lots of valuable information is being released both by GM, NHTSA, the US legislators and most importantly by lawyers representing claimants against GM.

In this article we will not examine the previous and current corporate lies and cover up, what we will examine is the repair side of the problem. To do this we need to understand how companies, and in particular GM, handle recalls and warranty repairs through its dealer network.

Recently several professional mechanics working in GM dealerships where they service and repair the vehicles made by GM disclosed some very important information. Of course some of the repairs they perform are paid by the customer, which might be you and others are recall / warranty repairs where GM is the customer.

When a customer such as yourself has services or repairs performed at the dealership, the dealership service management staff using industry labor and time guides dictate how many hours a certain repair will take and how many labor hours you pay for. This is called ‘Customer Pay (CP)’ service times. When the automaker, such as GM has the same repair done by the same mechanic at the same dealership, they dictate how many hours of pay they will pay. This is called ‘Warranty Pay (GMPP)’.

Now, let’s add in some recent professional mechanic forum comments by two GM dealer technicians that provide insight to this:

  • First, Jose in San Francisco, California asks “Have you completely overhauled a 6 speed automatic in a 4wd vehicle for 5.4 hours lately [GMPP]? When customer pay [CP] for that same job is 18.1 hrs!”
  • And Juan in Hillsboro, Oregon states “I just did a Buick Enclave that paid 28.2 C/P and GMPP paid me 9.5”

As you can clearly see the differences are significant. If these mechanics had been doing these type jobs, one after another then the time required would be lower, but no where near the GMPP time.

Now add in that most dealership mechanics in their class make about $20 to $25 per billed labor hour. If we consider the averages of these times at the higher pay rate, Jose should have earned $293.75, and Juan should have earned $471.25. What they did earn was less than half that.

Place yourself in their position, would you do the same quality job for about 1/3 of the pay or would you take shortcuts (like not properly inspecting, not testing, or not adjusting something properly)? Of course you would not do the same quality! After all you have to feed your family and you can’t do that on 1/3 of the normal pay.

So now you see the problem with all these safety recalls, not only is there going to be significant time requirements for parts manufacturing, testing and distributing, but because there are so many vehicles involved the problem of getting into the service department for repairs is another issue.

The service departments need to remain healthy and by that I mean profitable, so they can’t schedule too many recalls at once. Then the mechanic repairing it is quite literally going to look for short cuts, which means questionable repairs

These vehicles are going to be on the highways and roads for years to come in unrepaired and improperly repaired states

For you to protect yourself, keep up with the vehicles being recalled, what models they are and how they look. When you have one of these vehicles in traffic or approaching you, be extra cautious by being more vigilant and offering them extra space so you can react to problems that will develop on these cars.

If that means that you have photos of all the vehicles on your phone or home pc and use it like ‘flash cards’ then by all means take this extra step. It is your safety at issue!

In the next article we will examine the statements made by GM, as these statements are a look inside how big corporations deal with problems.

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