Carmaker sues over steering noise
GM said customers have complained about unusual rattles, clunks, and other noises. It pinpointed the flaw to “excessive gear backlash,’’ which causes problems in the steering column when driving on rough roads.
The lawsuit names JTEKT North America Inc., based in Plymouth, Mich., and an affiliated company, JTEKT Automotive Virginia Inc. of Daleville, Va.
GM said it wants to be paid for replacing thousands of parts under customer warranty claims on the Cobalt, Pursuit, G5, HHR, and other cars, starting with 2005 model year.
By fall, the cost had exceeded $30 million, and “GM’s damages are expected to continue to increase as additional warranty claims are made,’’ the automaker’s lawsuit said.
“JTEKT contends the components all met the specifications and testing requirements that GM gave it,’’ said Bob Haddad, a lawyer for the supplier. “The issues do not affect the operator’s ability to control the vehicle. This is a noise issue.’’
The steering systems are in tens of thousands of GM cars. It is not considered a safety issue, said Alan Adler, a GM spokesman.
He said the lawsuit will probably be settled out of court.
The Cobalt is GM’s highest-mileage vehicle. The company sold 90,940 Cobalts through October.
The car is due to be replaced next year by the Chevrolet Cruze, which GM promises will get around 40 miles per gallon on the highway.