REGINA—A Canadian law firm said it has launched a Canada-wide class action lawsuit against General Motors Co. (GM) over the deadly defect in some of the automaker’s smaller cars.
The Merchant Law Group LLP said it will launch legal proceedings on behalf of owners in Canada affected by the ignition switch recall in some GM compact cars from the 2003 to 2007 model years.
The faulty ignition switches have been linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths in the United States, and led to the recall of 1.6 million vehicles worldwide.
“The ignition switch defect is a widespread problem affecting more than 235,000 General Motors vehicles in Canada,” lawyer Tony Merchant said in a statement released by the firm.
The class action claims that the affected vehicles—which so far include Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s from the 2005 to 2007 model years, Saturn Ion compacts from 2003 to 2007, and Chevrolet HHRs and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars from 2006 and 2007—”suffer from a design defect which puts drivers at risk.”
GM announced last month it plans to replace ignition switches that can shut off car motors unexpectedly, which can lead to the loss of power-assisted steering and brakes.
“Owners of these GM vehicles are at risk and can experience a sudden unexpected loss of power and engine shut down due to the ignition defect alleged by this class action,” Merchant said.
This week, the automaker announced it would offer owners of the recalled cars free loaner cars and $500 toward a new GM vehicle.
—With files from The Associated Press