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GM Says Deadly Ignition Switch Defect Was Reported As Far Back As 2001

General Motors said it saw signs of flimsy ignition switches  in the Saturn Ion as early as 2001, three years earlier than the first indications of a defect previously disclosed by the automaker.

According to GM’s filing on Wednesday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM received a report on the “passlock” system for the Saturn Ion’s ignition switch in 2001, during pre-production development of the car. The chronology was released to explain a second batch vehicles recalled globally last month.

The report said the ignition switch’s problem was “low detent plunger force,” but a change in the design of the ignition switch resolved the problems. GM engineers and outside investigators would later find a similar problem with a Delphi-supplied ignition switch used in 1.6 million vehicles between model years 2003 and 2007.

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Written by Lewis Shaw

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