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GM Recalls 1.8 million 1998-2001 Cars

DETROIT February 6, 2004:The AP reportred that General Motors Corp. said Friday it is recalling 1.8 million cars to repair potential problems with the ignition switch that may cause a fire.

The models involved are certain 1998-2001 Chevrolet Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunfires built between March 1997 and April 2001. In addition, some 1998 Pontiac Grand Am, Oldsmobile Achieva, and Buick Skylark cars built between March 1997 and January 1998 are being recalled.

Of the total, 1.4 million of the vehicles are in the United States and 337,000 are in Canada. The remaining vehicles are outside these countries.

The vehicles are to be serviced to prevent high electrical current flow through the ignition switch that may cause a fire in the steering column.

The automaker said there have been reports of 80 incidents of heat build-up, melted components, smoldering parts or fires in the ignition system and steering column. It said no injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Most of the incidents occurred within minutes of an unsuccessful attempt to start the car, GM said.

In some of the vehicles, the ignition switch may deteriorate if the battery is weak, the engine fails to crank, and the driver holds the key in the "start" position for an extended period, GM said.

General Motors Corp.: