Chevy Cruze Recalled For Engine Fires

Spectre

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Apparently GM thinks plastic is a good material to use as an engine heat shield. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times:

GM to recall 2011-12 Chevrolet Cruzes over engine fires
More than 475,000 cars are eligible for free repairs to prevent fires traced to flammable liquids dripping onto the engine shield.

By William D'Urso, Los Angeles Times

June 23, 2012
General Motors is recalling more than 475,000 of its Chevrolet Cruze autos because of reported engine fires that destroyed two of the vehicles.

In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary investigation into the two fires, both of which occurred with 2011 Cruze models. The carmaker said there were no crashes or injuries caused by the problem it traced to engine shields on the undersides of the cars.

GM said fires could start or spread if oil or other flammable liquids dripped on to the shields. Neither the agency nor GM would say where or when the fires occurred, but GM said it found more incidents than were initially reported by the transportation administration.

"Our engineers have found about 30 fires in total, most of them are related to oil or improper parts," said Alan Adler, a GM spokesman.

The voluntary recall includes all 2011 and 2012 Cruzes sold in the United States, Canada and Israel. All of the cars were manufactured at a Chevrolet plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

The Cruze is Chevrolet's bestselling brand worldwide, according to GM. More than 1 million of the cars have been sold since 2009. The base manufacturer's suggested retail price for the Cruze is $16,800.

The fix, which will involve modifying the engine shield but not the addition of any parts, will take about 30 minutes per car, GM said. The work will be done at Chevy dealerships at no cost to consumers.

Letters informing owners of the recall will be mailed to Cruze owners beginning in mid-July, according to a GM statement. Adler said they wouldn't go out until then because of the Fourth of July holiday and the requirement that the traffic safety administration approve the recall letter.

Jack Gillis, director of the Public Affairs Consumer Federation of America and author of "The Car Book," said the size of the recall has the potential to tarnish GM's image.

"This is a substantial recall. It is really, really huge," Gillis said. "A recall like this can eat away at the substantially improved reputation that domestic car companies have."

But he said that General Motors seemed to be handling the recall in a "proactive" manner that could limit the public relations damage.

Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for Edmunds.com, said the target market for the Cruze is a somewhat laid-back buyer who might not search out the intricacies of the recall. Caldwell said she didn't think the problem would have a long-term effect on the automaker's sales, but that it was important for GM to get ahead of the situation.

She said the way Toyota handled recalls in 2009 and 2010 in connection with sudden, unintended-acceleration issues on its cars was disastrous for the company's reputation.

"No one wants to be in the position Toyota was in," Caldwell said, "not just from a PR standpoint but from a perception standpoint."

GM's shares were down Friday 4 cents, or 0.19%, to $20.60.

The first comment has more (and it's backed up by other sources such as Nitrobahn):

POR1234 at 12:23 PM June 23, 2012

The story doesn't mention the fact that the engine shield in question is made of plastic, and catches fire when oil is spilled onto it during oil changes because of the close proximity of the shield to the hot exhaust. Whatcha get when plastic parts are put near heat sources. Seems to me this coulda been figured out before the cars came off the assembly line.

This is the third recall for the Cruze in the US - first because of steering wheels falling off, the second when you'd shift the thing out of park but the transmission would actually stay in park no matter what else you selected.
 
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Redliner

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Wow, I didn't know about those recalls.

Are cars made in other parts of the world also affected or not?

- - - Updated - - -


Forget it. I read the whole thing now.
 

C53A_4G63T

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I look through SI to try and find the recall/campaign and could not find it. If anyone knows the ID number I can copy paste the inter dealer notice.
 

Spectre

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Can't see that anywhere. Here's some NHTSA documentation, though.

It's pretty funny. Apparently if you drive it with a worn clutch, it leaks hydraulic fluid as well. And someone forgot to weld the back of the car on properly.

FINAL Q&A for 2011-2012 Chevrolet Cruze Underhood Fires and Potential Missing Rear Compartment Welds Safety Recalls. (Populations: U.S. 413,148; Canada 61,299; Export 701 [Israel only])
Q&A
Q1. What is the proposed fix for the underhood fires?
A1. The engine shield, also known as the belly pan, can ?catch? oil or other hot fluids that might drip from the engine. This occurs most often if an oil change is done improperly or improper parts are used. If these fluids make contact with hot engine parts, such as a manifold or catalytic converter, and then contact the engine shield, a fire could start and spread. Modifying the shield will help prevent any liquids from being trapped in the engine compartment. In Cruzes with manual transmissions, continued driving with a worn clutch may cause extremely hot or burning hydraulic fluid to leak from the manual transmission vent. Modifying the shield should also help prevent the hydraulic fluid from becoming trapped in the engine compartment, where a fire could start and spread.

Q3. What about the missing welds? How did this happen?
A3. A welding process error in one body shop station created a condition in which up to 249 cars may be missing some welds in the rear of the vehicle.
Q4. So what will you do to cars found missing welds?
A4. The first step is to inspect. Corrections will be made with mechanical fasteners (bolts and rivets) if necessary.
Q5. What if a customer with a car missing welds doesn?t want it anymore? Will GM repurchase the car?
A5. We are always happy to work with customers. We believe the repair more than adequately addresses the missing welds issue.

I wouldn't be too happy about someone bolting and riveting my car together because they forgot to weld it up instead...
 

Redliner

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Missing WELDS. Holy crap, that?s reassuring.
 

SchumacherM

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Bitch.

I was hooning driving vigorously in one of these cars but a month ago.

ITS BUILD QUALITY IS EVEN WORSE THAN A TRABANTS (and I've seen YT videos of the production line. Hammers and brute force were the only tools there). Fuck off GM.
 
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AiR

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Well, Lordstown can't make cars, as apparently every other Cruze factory (of which there are nine :shock:) don't have those issues. But I'm more intrigued by the odd export scheme, so Lordstown builds cars for the US, Canada, and Israel. Weird.
 
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Eunos_Cosmo

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I had considered the new Chevy Sonic...I'm sure glad I didn't.

Fixing missing welds with mechanical fasteners?? REALLY GM???
 

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When I saw this on TV I literally laughed out loud. Took my tax money and decided actual R&D was rubbish and continued to make crap. What a crock.

This is why GM had to be bailed out. They can't make cars.

+1
 

C53A_4G63T

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The Cruise is a shit ton better than the Sonic. but that is not saying much. Having been under these cars when they hit dealerships, I can say I was not impressed with the packaging. I saw many things that did not seem to make sense from a Tech's point of view and made them harder to work on when a simpler solution could have been used. In my honest opinion, you could tell this car was "thrown" together to get it out.

We had one come back after 3,500 miles FIVE times for a coolant smell in the HVAC system. It got to the point where the guy wanted a new car and GM pretty much told him to go fuck himself. GM made him take it to court. Ridiculous.
 

rickhamilton620

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It sucks to hear about this stuff, because overall, the Cruze appeals to me as a "grown up" small car. It's kinda sorta like the last Jetta in that respect: it looks and feels expensive...only without the last Jetta's premium price tag.

Still, the missing welds thing is troubling, controlled by a robot or otherwise. Inside Line owned a Cruze for their long term test and it ended up having a major trunk leak...discovered less than a day after buying it:

http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/2010/11/2011-chevy-cruze-ltz-leaky-trunk.html

http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/2010/11/2011-chevrolet-cruze-ltz-trunk-snafu-fix.html

Perhaps the next Chevy small car (lets face it, they'll likely change the name yet AGAIN to try and run from their checkered small car past) will finally nail all aspects of a small car ownership experience.

I also chuckle at the irony: the best small car GM had in recent years on this side of the pond, the Astra, was killed in the US with Saturn. Perhaps the Verano is the one to get.
 

JCE

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I also chuckle at the irony: the best small car GM had in recent years on this side of the pond, the Astra, was killed in the US with Saturn. Perhaps the Verano is the one to get.

How ironic indeed that the best GM small car is one of Europe's middle-of-the-road hatches that's seen as more of a hire car over there. I quite liked the Astra actually, even as a Saturn, but GM really needed to bring it on over to the Chevrolet badge and ditch the Cobalt and now Cruze. It is very sad that all Americans can hope for is a middle dweller from Europe in terms of what GM can offer in the small car segment. It's a moot point really, the Koreans are putting out some awesome stuff now in the small car market.

Every car company at some point as recalls, but, I've never seen missing welds as a recall? That's downright dangerous!

I've seen enough of the Cruze to know it's neither premium or grown-up. The engine is an underpowered turd, the gearbox is rubbish and the interior is a cheap mass of man-made parts that belong in the bin.

+1 It's sad to think that the Dodge Dart is so much better of a vehicle inside and out--and this is saying a lot based upon past Dodge build quality.
 

rickhamilton620

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How ironic indeed that the best GM small car is one of Europe's middle-of-the-road hatches that's seen as more of a hire car over there. I quite liked the Astra actually, even as a Saturn, but GM really needed to bring it on over to the Chevrolet badge and ditch the Cobalt and now Cruze. It is very sad that all Americans can hope for is a middle dweller from Europe in terms of what GM can offer in the small car segment. It's a moot point really, the Koreans are putting out some awesome stuff now in the small car market.

Every car company at some point as recalls, but, I've never seen missing welds as a recall? That's downright dangerous!



+1 It's sad to think that the Dodge Dart is so much better of a vehicle inside and out--and this is saying a lot based upon past Dodge build quality.


Agreed, they should have brought over Astra, but i can understand why they decided to simply build a "different" car on the same platform. Styling that was more in line with other US GM brands for one, etc.

Also, chances are, if the car was going to be competitively priced...it would have to be assembled here...the lordstown plant that built Cobalt and now Cruze would have likely been the number one pick due to essentially building Astra's already. Quality would have likely suffered like it does now. The Saturn plant in spring hill could have also built it, because of the Ion, but by then it's future was in question.

I'd drive a Dart over the Cruze for sure. I forgot it exists mainly because its so new.


I will say, kudos to GM for being so up front and transparent. If they tried to hide this issue under silent recalls and such, it would be such a mess if it came out.
 
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Spectre

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Rick, they brought over the Astra and nobody bought it. For two years.
 

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Someone around here has a Saturn Astra. It's a good looking hatchback actually, with the bigger 5 spoke wheels. Only the new Focus hatchback looks better imo and that's brand new.
 
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rickhamilton620

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Someone around here has a Saturn Astra. It's a good looking hatchback actually, with the bigger 5 spoke wheels. Only the new Focus hatchback looks better imo and that's brand new.

Most Astra's i see are 3 doors, there's a very sharp silver XR hatch with those wheels that looks great in a nearby apartment complex.
 

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A REPAIR completed in minutes will get the almost 10,000 Holden Cruzes recalled yesterday back on the road.
Holden has announced 9547 Cruze sedans and hatches fitted with the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine and built since June 2011 are being recalled to fix the potential for spilled oil to pool in the engine bay and possibly catch fire.The manufacturer says a hole cut in a plastic tray is the fix.The company's product communications manager Kate Lonsdale said the decision to modify the belly pan follows a recall in North America of all 413,418 Cruzes sold since September, 2010.There were two reported cases of fires in US vehicles last year.Holden is contacting customers to arrange a free modification but owners are urged to phone 1800 632 826.The Cruze has been built at Elizabeth since March last year.


Source

There. Fixed :p.
 
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