General Motors now says it had reports of a safety defect in its cars as early as 2001, which is three years earlier than it previously acknowledged. The disclosure on Wednesday was regarding cars the company has tied to 12 deaths and 31 accidents over a decade. According to GM, in 2001 a study found that the ignition switch in the Saturn Ion could turn off easily, but the company said a design change "had resolved the problem." In 2003, another study showed that the car stalled when the ignition was turned off in the middle of driving. GM has recalled 1.6 million cars, including the 2005-7 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5, the 2003-7 Saturn Ion, 2006-7 Chevrolet HHR and Pontiac Solstice, and the 2007 Saturn Sky.
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