Rock Bottom: Floor Mat Recall Continues Worrying Trend for GM

By: Edward L. Allen, Fredericksburg, VA Personal Injury Attorney

GM vehicles have been plagued with safety concerns and recalls over the past few months, and now another issue has appeared. A series of custom floor mats used in General Motors’ pickup trucks and SUVs have the potential to ride forward and dangerously interfere with the pedals. The floor mats were manufactured by a third-party company, Omix Ada, located in Georgia. The brands of mats involved include Cabela’s Custom Fit, Line-X Truck Gear, Rugged Ridge All-Terrain, and Tread Lightly. The mats were manufactured from 2009 to 2014 and fit almost all GM trucks and SUVs manufactured since 1999. The majority of the affected mats were sold through O’Reilly Auto Parts stores.[1]

Omix Ada first became aware of the problem after three consumer reports were made earlier this year. The complaints only referenced the mats riding up and affecting the bottom of the gas pedal; to date there have been no known crashes or injuries related to this defect. Nevertheless, Omix Ada quickly redesigned its mats so that starting in the first quarter of this year all new mats have a hook system designed to prevent movement. The company also developed an installable hook system that can be applied to older mats in just ten minutes.[2]

This is a relatively minor and well-handled recall, but it continues the trend of what has been a disastrous year for GM. In this year alone the company has issued more than 65 recalls affecting almost 30 million vehicles, not all of them for issues as minor as the floor mats. A flawed ignition switch on certain Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn cars took more than a decade to discover and is believed to have killed at least 19 people. The defect caused car electrical systems to shut off while driving, resulting in simultaneous failure of power steering, electronic stability control, and airbags. GM’s conduct in that case, including an irresponsible delay of the recall, resulted in a $35 million in fines. Another case saw a major recall of vehicles whose brakes were not functioning correctly. The cost of all recalls for the year is expected to top $200 million.[3]

GM CEO Mary Barra acknowledges the company’s responsibility, but notes that these issues stem from the profit-first corporate culture that existed at the old, pre-bankruptcy GM and insists that such problems could never happen today. However, with so manyrecalls affecting so many crucial systems, the public perception of GM’s safety has taken a beating. The sheer regularity of new recalls creates doubt about all of the company’s cars, as no one can say what defect will be discovered next.

If you are concerned that your vehicle may be affected by one of these recalls GM has set up a website where you can enter your VIN number.[4] The site will then tell you if your car has been recalled or flagged for any reason, as well as help you proceed with getting the issue fixed.

About the Author: Edward Allen is a personal injury attorney at the Allen Law Firm, where he serves as the managing partner of the Fredericksburg office. He has over 25 years of experience handling a variety of cases including car accidents, truck accidents, traumatic brain injuries, and premises liability. He has been named a Virginia Super Lawyer since 2011 and has been listed in Best Lawyers of America since 2010.