Many popular models of General Motors trucks and sport utility vehicles are liable to lose their power steering as drivers make slow turns in parking lots, according to an Associated Press news report. The reporter apparently looked at court testimony and company documents, which reflected those steering defects. The problem, the report says, has forced GM to settle numerous lawsuits and led one state police force to label the condition as a “hazard.” But GM is simply calling this a “normal characteristic” of their vehicles.

Several drivers have complained that they have problems with the power steering especially while parallel parking or navigating into tight spots. GM told its technicians that the steering problem can occur when drivers apply the brakes and turn the steering wheel at the same time. That is exactly what happens when drivers try to park. What’s worse? This problem was never disclosed or made public to consumers. In November, a Wisconsin jury awarded $120,000 to a plumber who was unable to steer his GMC pickup truck and was refused a refund or a new vehicle even after he had complained. GM has also been ordered to pay an additional $259,000 in attorney’s fees in that case.

Attorneys who are representing plaintiffs in this auto product defect case also accuse the auto maker of deceptive marketing. GM advertises a lot of these vehicles as the safest and best vehicles available. According to an internal company bulletin, the affected models include the Chevy Avalanche, Tahoe, Suburban, Silverado Classic, GMC Sierra Classic, Yukon, Cadillac Escalade and Hummer H2. A GM bulletin also states that the condition can be aggravated by worn tires, low tire pressure and tires larger than stock size.

This is outrageous to say the least! Consumers who have been victims of this deceptive marketing and have been injured because of the defective steering in these vehicles would be well-advised to consult a nationally renowned auto product defect law firm about a class-action lawsuit. Most recently in March 2008 Ford settled with 800,000 owners of the Ford Explorer SUV that lost value following an extensive tire recall and widespread concern over potential rollover accidents.

Steering control is very important in a vehicle. When your steering locks up or does not function correctly, you lose control of your vehicle, which could potentially lead to a crash. Saying that it’s OK for the steering to lock up because it happens only at slow speeds is, in my opinion, is ridiculous. It tells me that General Motors couldn’t care less if their consumers were stuck with a defective auto. It shows their utter disregard for the safety and well-being of their consumers. Their unwillingness to divulge the facts to consumers also demonstrates their lack of business ethics.

For decades, we have been fighting GM and other auto makers and holding them accountable for the defective products they put on the market. If you were affected by these GM steering defects and are interested in pursuing your legal rights, please contact my office.