BUSINESS

Car dealers overwhelmed with repair requests in wake of GM recalls

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WJLA) - In the wake of millions more General Motors cars being recalled this week, many local GM car owners are getting frustrated that the company isn't being more helpful with getting their cars repaired.

Linda Pellegrino has been waiting a long time to have her recalled Saturn Ion repaired.

"The part's been on order since April. That's two months now," she said.

Pellegrino's car was one of 2.6 million recalled four months ago due to faulty ignition switches.

Her situation is not unlike that of many owners of recalled vehicles, who say dealers have been swamped with repair requests that go above and beyond their available parts supplies.

"I don't believe it's the dealer's fault at all - I believe it's GM corporate and manufacturing having trouble getting enough of the parts manufactured out to the dealers," Pellegrino said.

About 400,000 repair kits have been sent to dealers worldwide, yet only 7 percent of the cars under the recall have been repaired - and that doesn't even take into account the more than 3 million recalled just on Monday of this week.

GM says the ignition switch problem has caused at least 54 crashes and 13 fatalities, when the switches slip from the "run" to "off" position, which shuts off the engine.

The former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Joan Claybrook, says GM needs to figure out a faster way to fix these cars.

"The company has made huge mistakes and now they're trying to pick up the pieces, and it's hard to get it all done instantaneously," she said. "I should think that they would almost stop production lines to manufacture these parts."

As she waits to get her car repaired, Pellegrino, who lives in Virginia, says she is limiting how much she uses her Saturn.

"I don't feel very secure and safe at all," she said. "I'm very concerned."

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