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GM Recalls 38,444 G8 Pontiac Sedans for Air Bag Delay Problem

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General Motors is recalling 38,444 G8 Pontiac sedans from the model years 2008 and 2009 because the air-bag modules might not comply with federal standards for head injury protection. Crash tests show that when the front seat of these cars is in a fully forward position, small-framed women sitting in the front passenger seat could have an increased risk of head injuries in the event of an accident.

As Jonathan Welsh reports in The Wall Street Journal blog Driver’s Seat,

The potential problem stems from front-passenger airbags that may not deploy at exactly the right time. GM said that when the front passenger seat [is] positioned fully forward, the seat position sensor will cause a delay of 30 milliseconds between the first and second stages of the dual-stage front passenger air bag’s deployment.

In a document filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM said the affected cars were built in Australia from Nov. 2, 2007, through Jan. 22, 2009, and that no injuries have been reported as a result of this problem.

As Paul Eng writes in ConsumerReports.org:

General Motors will recall the vehicles to local dealers where mechanics will reprogram the front air bag sensors free of charge. Although GM has not yet begun notifying Pontiac G8 sedan owners, consumers can call the Pontiac owners toll-free phone line (800-620-7668) for more information.

Owners may also contact the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

It was on April 27, 2009, according to Wikipedia, that General Motors announced it would stop manufacturing Pontiacs by the end of 2010, due to financial difficulties and restructuring, and focus on four car brands in North America: Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC. The last Pontiacs were built in 2009, and the final dealer franchises expired on Halloween of 2010. Pontiac was established as a brand in 1926.

Car buff and Tonight Show host Jay Leno paid a special tribute to the Pontiac for Popular Mechanics in 2009, in which he wrote: “Pontiac was a great brand. I think GM brought back some performance in the last couple years with the Pontiac G8–its a real sport sedan.”

At one point in 2009, it appeared that the Pontiac G8 would re-emerge as the Chevy Caprice, but that never happened, as Ralph Hanson reported in MotorAuthority:

On the GM Fastlane Blog, Lutz wrote, ‘The G8 will not be a Caprice after all. I’d mentioned it, and said we were studying it, giving it a serious look, because a car like the G8 was just too good to waste. That’s all still true. I have to say that, with my new ‘marketing’ hat on, upon further review and careful study, we simply cannot make a business case for such a program. Not in today’s market, in this economy, and with fuel regulations what they are and will be.’

PopularMechanics.com has a page of video clips from many movies and TV shows that featured Pontiacs (mostly the GTO and Firebird Trans Am models), and of audio clips of songs featuring the car.

Here is a clip of the classic 1960’s song Little GTO by Ronnie & The Daytonas:

Image by JLaw45 (Jason Lawrence), used under its Creative Commons license.

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