GM: Get Your Ignition Switch Fixed, Receive a Gift Card

Nov 05, 2014 12:00 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

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General Motors is offering $25 gift cards to owners of recalled Saturn Ions, Chevrolet Cobalts and other older vehicles if they bring in their cars to dealerships to have ignition switch repairs completed no later than Dec. 1.

The incentive is unusual in the auto industry, which usually sees around one in four cars left unrepaired in a recall, according to The Detroit News.

At least 1.27 million older vehicles recalled with faulty ignition switches have been repaired as of Oct. 27 out of 2.59 million vehicles recalled earlier this year by the automaker.

The switch can move out of the "run" position while driving, which could cause the driver to lose power steering, braking and, during a crash, air bags might not deploy correctly.

The company originally linked 54 crashes and 13 deaths to the problem, but an independent expert has since approved 30 deaths linked to the issue, according to Reuters.

Brochures about the gift card program started being sent out last week to people who have taken no action to get their vehicles fixed, GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney said in a statement.

The promotion is available to around 700,000 people, but only to those who haven't ordered parts or contacted a dealer to get their ignition switch fixed.

Those who have ordered parts but haven't had vehicles repaired are not eligible for offer, Camey said.

"We're reaching out to them in a variety of ways," she said. "One of the things we're doing is giving them an opportunity to get a $25 gift card."

The gift card effort as first reported by Automotive News on Tuesday.

Those who complete their repairs at dealerships by Dec. 1 will receive a code and can go online to select a gift card from seven different retailers like Amazon, AMC, Applebee's, Bass Pro Shops or Wal-Mart.

"I think it's a great idea," said Karl Brauer, senior director of insights for Kelley Blue Book, according to The Detroit News. "It's another kind of break from GM's past, putting this extra effort and resources into getting people to respond to these recall notices. It just shows a heightened level of commitment to fix these ignition switches."

Carney added that the gift cards should be mailed to customers two to four weeks after the repair work has been completed.

If approximately 700,000 people take advantage of the offer it would cost GM $17.5 million.

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