Paul Sancya / AP
Monday, March 17, 2014 | 9:57 a.m.
DETROIT — General Motors is recalling more than 1.5 million vehicles, including SUVs, vans and Cadillacs, for defective air bags and other problems.
The new recalls come as GM faces multiple investigations over its handling of a recall of more than 1.6 million small cars for defective ignition switches. The new recalls aren't related to that issue, but the company did say they're part of a broad product safety review prompted by the ignition switch problem, which is linked to 12 deaths.
GM expects to spend approximately $300 million in the first quarter to repair the vehicles in the new recalls as well as the vehicles in the small car recall. GM announced last month that ignition switches in older models of the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5s, Saturn Ion, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and Satury Sky need to be repaired.
The recalls announced Monday include:
— 1.18 million SUVs because their side air bags, front center air bags and seat belt pretensioners might not deploy if drivers ignore an air bag warning light on their dashboard. The recall includes the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia from the 2008-2013 model years; the Chevrolet Traverse from the 2009-2013 model years; and the Saturn Outlook from the 2008-2010 model years. GM says no injuries are related to the defect.
— 303,000 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans from the 2009-2014 model years because the material on the instrument panel might not adequately protect unbelted passengers' heads in a crash. No injuries have been reported, but GM says the material needs to be reworked because it doesn't meet federal standards.
— 63,900 Cadillac XTS sedans from the 2013 and 2014 model years because a plug in the brake assembly can get dislodged and short, increasing the risk of an engine compartment fire. GM says it knows of two engine compartment fires in unsold Cadillacs at dealerships and two cases in which components melted. But it has had no reports of injuries.
GM says CEO Mary Barra ordered an internal safety review after the ignition switch recall, and asked that pending issues that might lead to a recall be resolved quickly. The government is investigating why GM didn't act sooner to recall cars with the faulty switch after first getting reports of problems in 2004.
Jack Nerad, editorial director for Kelley Blue Book, said it's better for GM to act on the new recalls now.
"It's not going to get much worse. If you've got bad news now and put it out in a month's time, it looks like a trend and it will just prolong things," he said.