General Motors has announced recall of nearly half a million cars due to risk of fire. The recall involves its top-selling Chevrolet Cruze compact car. The affected models include cars built between September 2010 and May 2012 at GM's Ohio assembly plant. Some may still be sitting on the showroom floor.
The recall comes at a bad moment for GM. The compact Cruze has been a popular competitor to the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic, both of which saw production lag after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011. But sales of the Cruze already started to fall as more of the popular Japanese cars have reentered the U.S. market.
The fire hazard recall affects more than 475,000 vehicles. There have been at least 30 fires caused by the problem, and while some of the cars have been completely destroyed by flames, GM claims it knows of no injuries or fatalities caused by fire in the Chevy Cruzes to date.
General Motors believes it can fix the problem by cutting an oil shield to let the flammable fluids drain to the pavement. The repairs take about 30 minutes and are free, the company said.