GM Continued Selling Faulty Chevrolet Camaro Keys Five Years After Recall
The fifth-gen Camaro’s original flip-key could be bumped inadvertently, turning off the ignition while driving.
In June 2014, General Motors issued a recall for a faulty key design which affected 511,528 examples of 2010-2015 Chevrolet Camaros across North America. Owners were expected to visit a dealer to have their faulty flip-style key swapped for a more traditional key and fob design which was not subject to the design flaw. In late September 2019, though, GM contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to notify that it was issuing another recall—for the same switchblade key from five years ago.
But how can a manufacturer issue a second recall for the same problem when no other moving parts have changed? As it turns out, GM did recall the hundreds of thousands of affected fobs and stopped issuing the key with new vehicle purchases; however, it somehow didn't stop selling the recalled key in its part catalog.
This went unnoticed by GM management for five years until an employee noticed the issue and notified the company through an internal program called "Speak Up For Safety." After reviewing the complaint, GM opened an investigation and found that the recalled keys were being inadvertently sold through the automaker's online parts catalog. In total, the automaker identified 10,758 Camaro owners which may have been sold a recalled flip-type key.
GM immediately issued a stop delivery order to its dealers who were in possession of these keys on Sept. 19 and informed the NHTSA of the impending recall in accordance with federal safety regulations.
In its coverage on the matter, Consumer Reports was able to identify several third-party websites still offering up the defective keys for sale, despite the recall being nearly three weeks old. The Drive was able to locate similar third-party sellers offering what they claimed to be OEM keys, however, many marketplace-based listings were removed. Many online retailers, including Amazon and eBay, have policies that prohibit the sale of recalled items and have already seemingly worked to remove listings with the recalled OEM flip-keys.
The initial recall was the result of an identified safety risk similar to another ignition-related recall that GM had issued only months prior. Drivers could accidentally bump the flip-style key with their knee while operating the vehicle and cause the ignition cylinder to rotate away from the run position. This would result in the car shutting off the engine, effectively limiting power braking and steering.