March 2, 2017
GM Korea decided to delay the sales of its new Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan after discovering a possible defect in the airbag system, the company said Wednesday.
The Korean unit of the U.S. auto giant General Motors stressed the unprecedented move is designed to deliver a “flawless” product to consumers. But it is feared to adversely affect the vehicle's brand image and dampen sales.
The automaker had initially planned to deliver the sedans late February but decided to postpone them indefinitely until the problem is fixed.
“The thing is automakers could discover problems when they mass produce cars. This is nothing unusual,” a GM Korea spokesman said. “In the all-new Cruze, we found out that bolts anchoring the airbag system could malfunction under certain circumstances. CEO James Kim and other top managers then made a bold decision to put off the deliveries until we are 100 percent sure that the vehicle is flawless.”
On Feb. 6, GM Korea began the mass-production of the compact sedan at its plant in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province. But three days later, the carmaker stopped production after detecting bolts that sustain the airbags may not work properly. The all new-Cruze has six Takata airbags, which have been the cause of some of massive recalls by Toyota and other automakers over the past few years.
”We have been conducting a thorough inspection on 1,000 already-produced vehicles. If there is a problem, we will fix it,” the spokesman said. “After confirming that the cars are in their best shape, we will hand them over to our customers sometime in March. We will continue to take all possible steps to produce top-quality cars for consumers.”
He said the carmaker has not yet decided when it will resume Cruze production. Since Jan. 17, it has received about 2,000 pre-orders.
The all-new Chevy Cruze is the latest version of GM's best-selling model that has sold a total of 4 million in 115 countries since it was introduced in 2008.
It is powered by the carmaker's latest 1.4-liter DOHC turbocharged 4-cyclinder engine that produces a maximum 153 horsepower with a 24.5-kg.m torque. The third-generation six-speed transmission also offers smooth and efficient speed transition.
The car also features various advanced drive assistance systems including Front Collision Alert, Side Blind Spot Alert and Advanced Parking Assist while the vehicle's 8-inch high-definition full-color screen display with the carmaker's MyLink Infotainment system offers smart navigation and a BOSE premium surround system with nine speakers.
The price of the new Cruze starts at 18.9 million won ($16,022) in Korea.
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