General Motors has made two wise moves to connect with customers affected by the automaker's plethora of recalls: improving the ignition-switch recall website and issuing letters from CEO Mary Barra.
The chief executive sent letters to around 1.9 million owners altogether, one reminder going to more than a million GM owners that have been putting off ordering parts through their dealer or online, the Detroit Free Press reported. A second missive from Barra went to around 875,000 owners who had ordered parts but hadn't yet taken their vehicles in for repairs.
A 2.6 million-vehicle small car recall earlier this year has been related to at least 13 deaths, and GM has designated at least $400 million to compensate those injured in its vehicles and the families of those killed. The letters sent by Barra included information about the victim compensation fund, which began accepting claims on Aug. 1.
GM has recalled more than 16.45 million vehicles this year for ignition switch-related issues such as those that plagued the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. A plethora of GM models have been known to shift from the "run" position when moving, shutting off the engine while the car is moving and simultaneously disabling the air bags.
Owners who have been affected by the ignition switch recalls should be better able to navigate the improved website.
"The upgrades to the GMIgnitionUpdate.com website were made to make it easier for customers whose vehicles have been recalled for ignition issues to see in one place information about their vehicle and look up their VIN number," GM spokesman Alan Adler told Edmunds on Tuesday.
The automaker continues to urge owners to remove everything except the key needed for driving from key rings for the affected vehicles, which can stop suddenly if the driver's knee bumps the ignition.
Recalled models include all 2003-'07 Saturn Ion, 2005-'10 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-'11 Chevrolet HHR, 2007-'10 Pontiac G5, 2006-'10 Pontiac Solstice and 2007-'10 Saturn Sky vehicles.