GM recalls half a million Camaros on possible power loss

General Motors Co, which before Friday had already recalled almost 14 million vehicles in the US this year, is calling back 511,528 current-generation Chevrolet Camaros in North America.

The biggest US automaker said it's recalling the muscle cars because the driver's knee can bump the key FOB and cause the key to move out of the "run" position leading the car to lose power. The defect was discovered by GM when it did tests following the recall of 2.59 million small cars for a fatally flawed ignition switch.

The Camaro's ignition system meets GM's engineering specifications and is unrelated to the ignition system used in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars covered by the ignition switch recall, the company said in a statement.

"Discovering and acting on this issue quickly is an example of the new norm for product safety at GM," Jeff Boyer, vice president of GM Global Safety, said in the statement.

GM is stepping up the pace of recalls as it faces criticism and multiple probes for its slowness in recalling the small cars linked to at least 13 deaths. The carmaker this month released the results of an internal probe into that February recall which blamed a lack of urgency in the company's engineering and legal department in dealing with problems, though found no conspiracy to hide facts.

4 injuries
GM said it's aware of three crashes that resulted in four minor injuries that it believes may be attributed to this condition. The company will change the Camaro key to a standard design from one in which the key is concealed in the FOB and is opened by pushing a button.

The change will make the ignition key and FOB independent of each other, so that inadvertent contact with the FOB won't move the key from the "run" position, GM said.

The company last month agreed to pay a $35 million fine as part of the Transportation Department's investigation into how it handled the February recall. GM has also added about 35 investigators as it shows a willingness to take vehicles off the road for a variety of issues.

In April, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra was called in front of national lawmakers to explain why the company took years to publicise the faulty ignition switches. Since then, GM has told owners of millions more vehicles to bring their cars to dealers for repairs to shift cables, seat belts and other parts.

While Barra herself was held blameless in the company's own investigation, she dismissed 15 employees for their roles in the incident. That probe was led by Anton Valukas, chairman of law firm Jenner & Block LLC, who served as a Justice Department-appointed examiner of the downfall of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

GM's recall number exceeds the 10.7 million-vehicle mark set by the Detroit-based automaker in 2004, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By comparison, Americans are expected to buy 16.1 million new cars and trucks this year, according to the average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.