Chevrolet vehicles are seen on display at a Chevrolet dealership in San Jose, Calif., in this 2009 file photo (AP/USA Today)
(USA Today) -- General Motors has told its dealers to stop delivering 60,000 new cars on their sales lots, including many of its most popular models, until they fix a glitch involving the OnStar communications system.
In addition, owners of the affected models will be sent a letter later this month telling them either that their cars already had had a software patch sent to them over the airwaves or that they should bring in their vehicle to a dealer for service.
Dealers were being told tonight to go ahead and start fixing the cars using the patch, a process that takes about 30 minutes per vehicle, GM spokesman Alan Adler says. Since Wednesday, when dealers were first informed of the problem, GM has been gradually fixing the problem remotely by sending the electronic message to the cars. It hopes to have all the affected cars fixed next week.
New vehicles affected include 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, Equinox and Volt; 2013 Cadillac XTS and ATS; GMC Terrain Buick Verano. Also included was the 2012 Cadillac SRX. The list includes many of GM's best-selling or newest models, but they are the only ones that Adler says have the particular component.
The problem involves the sensor that triggers the vehicle's airbags in the event of a crash. The part, called the "sensing diagnostic module," is working fine when it comes to know when to inflate airbags, Adler says. But tests last month found that certain models would not always receive a call from an OnStar operator to check to see if passengers are injured in cases where the airbags are not supposed to inflate, such as rear-end accident.
No recall is being contemplated, Adler says. Federal safety regulation don't require a system like OnStar, which goes over and above minimum federal requirements. He also says he doesn't think the issue will harm sales since it can be fixed relatively quickly. Cars that have the problem can be sold. They just can't be delivered to customers until they are repaired.