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General Motors Co.

— which Tuesday doubled the size of its recall for older cars with faulty ignition switches that can cause air bags not to deploy in crashes — spent nearly a decade studying the issue and repeatedly opted not to recall the vehicles or pay for potentially expensive fixes.

The Detroit automaker said it will recall more than 1.6 million cars worldwide after reports of 13 deaths and 31 crashes linked to the issue. The decision that came less than two weeks after the automaker insisted it needed to recall only about 780,000 cars.

A chronology of its actions turned over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday showed GM downplayed the ignition switch issue in prior years, including canceling in 2005 an approved redesign of the ignition key head. By the end of 2007, GM said it knew of 10 frontal crashes in which air bags didn’t deploy — linked to the ignition problem — but the automaker opted not to recall the cars.

GM North America President Alan Batey said the company was “deeply sorry” for the issue, a rare apology for the automaker over a safety issue.



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GM Apologizes For 13 Deaths Over Recall Delay - Is That Good Enough?

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