General Motors Co.

’s recall of 29 million vehicles worldwide so far this year should mean embarrassment bordering on crisis for the automaker and its dealers.

Defective ignition switches in compact models are blamed for at least 13 deaths and more than 50 accidents. The toll is expected to be revised higher as victims present individual cases for compensation from a GM-backed fund.

But as grim and damaging as the mess is to GM and its reputation, an unintended consequence is that GM theoretically gets 29 million chances to lure prospective buyers back into showrooms and put them behind the wheels of new metal mostly free from the problems plaguing out-of-production Chevrolet Cobalts and similar vehicles.

You can’t buy that kind of traffic, as a ranking GM source and Paul Stanford, president of Les Stanford Chevrolet-Cadillac in Dearborn, put it in separate discussions over the past several days.

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Messed Up Marketing? GM Viewing 29 Million Recalled Vehicles As Sales Opportunity Rather Than Embarrassment

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