Car Rental Companies Warned GM About Possible Defect

August 5, 2014 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
Car Rental Companies Warned GM About Possible Defect

In a new report by Bloomberg, it is alleged that several car rental companies warned General Motors (GM) nearly seven years ago about a potential defect in their Chevy Cobalt model. According to the news site, an investigator for Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc. contacted GM about a fatal rollover crash involving a Cobalt back in Sept. 2006. The rental company advised GM that the airbag in the Chevy Cobalt that had been rented did not deploy during a rollover accident; the driver was killed. A Vanguard claims adjuster wrote to GM and advised them that they should consider opening a claim and inspecting the vehicle for possible defects. Using customer-service call transcripts, warranty records and even police reports, Bloomberg found that Enterprise Holdings Inc. had also pressed GM about a potential defect after airbags failed to deploy in routine crashes. Avis Budget Group and Hertz also had Cobalts in their rental fleet that had crashed. Some of the collisions involving the recalled GM vehicles include:

  • In 2005, a woman and her ex-husband were killed after she lost control of a Saturn Ion she rented from Enterprise. Their daughter suffered serious brain injuries. A police officer attributed the crash to a steering and braking defect.
  • In 2006, a Chevy Cobalt rented from Enterprise slipped off the road and crashed into a tree, killing the driver. The airbag did not deploy during the accident.
In the case of the 2006 incident, an Enterprise claims adjuster asked GM to check for a possible defect as the party of the deceased wanted the vehicle inspected after the airbag did not deploy. It is estimated that about nine cars owned by rental car companies are involved in the investigators evaluation of airbag failure during a collision. GM now backs legislation that would prohibit rental car companies from renting or selling vehicles that were subject to a recall, but have not been repaired. Have you been involved in an accident that may have been caused by a defective GM vehicle? Were you or someone you love injured in an accident due to a vehicle defect? At the law offices of O'Connor, Acciani & Levy, our injury attorneys can review the details for your incident and help you determine what your legal rights are.