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GM to recall 1.5 million vehicles to fix electric power steering issue

A General Motors dealership is seen in Vienna, Virginia, May 27, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young
A General Motors dealership is seen in Vienna, Virginia, May 27, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young

(Reuters) - General Motors Co is recalling more than 1.5 million vehicles because they may unexpectedly lose power steering, the company said on Monday

This brings to 6.26 million the number of vehicles recalled by GM since the start of this year.

"Steering control can be maintained because the vehicle will revert to manual steering, but greater driver effort would be required at low vehicle speeds, which could increase the risk of a crash," GM said in a statement.

Of the 1,508,445 vehicles involved in the recall, more than 1.3 million are in the United States.

Three of the six models recalled on Monday are also involved in a massive ignition switch recall of 2.6 million vehicles worldwide. The defect is linked to 13 deaths.

Those models are the 2010 Cobalt compact, the Chevrolet HHR compact from model years 2009 and 2010, and the Saturn ION compact from model year 2004 to 2007.

The company also said on Monday it expects to take a charge of up to $750 million in the first quarter, primarily related to recalls announced in the quarter. This includes a previously disclosed $300 million charge for three recalls announced on March 17, and the ignition switch recall on February 25. (http://r.reuters.com/suz97v)

In addition to the safety recalls announced on Monday, GM is offering lifetime warranties for replacement of electric power steering motors in 405,484 other cars. They include HHR compacts from model years 2006 to 2008 along with some 2009 models, and Saturn ION compacts from the 2003 model year.

"With these safety recalls and lifetime warranties, we are going after every car that might have this problem, and we are going to make it right," said Jeff Boyer, vice president of GM Global Vehicle Safety. "We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough."

Also involved in the power steering recall announced Monday are all Chevrolet Malibu sedans from 2004 and 2005 model years and some from the 2006 and 2008 model years, and Saturn Aura sedans from 2008 and 2009 model years, and all Pontiac G6 sedans from the 2005 model year plus some from 2006, 2008 and 2009.

(Corrects amount of previously disclosed charge to $300 million, instead of $30 million in paragraph seven)

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Detroit and Thyagaraju Adinarayan in Bangalore; editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Matthew Lewis)

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