GM Forgets To Add Brake Pads To New Cars – Simple Mistake or Same-old Same-old?

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General Motors is recalling thousands of 2012 Chevy Sonic subcompact cars because the inner and outer brake pads may be missing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the missing brake pads could reduce the vehicle’s brake system performance and increase the risk of a crash.

GM Recalls Sonic Due to Missing Brake Pads

GM has recalled its brand new Chevy Sonic after discovering that some of the vehicles were missing brake pads.

GM plans to notify owners of this mechanical liability and ask that owners of the Chevy Sonic take the car to an authorized dealer for inspection. The dealer will check for missing brake pads and install any missing parts, including calipers, rotors or pads. GM said it noticed the problem after a customer brought a Sonic into a dealer and complained about brake noise. Mechanics discovered that the vehicle had no brake pads. GM estimates that 4,296 Sonics may be affected by this recall. The company will begin the recall by January 14.

While this recall comes on the heels of the Sonic’s sparkling five-star safety rating by the NHTSA, it also follows serious quality concerns over Chevy Volt fire risks and an investigation into rusting GM vans.

While most people have simply viewed the missing brake pad problem as an inconsequential mistake, it’s possible to see this as an indicator of a quality slippage at GM. This type of mistake could have – and should have – been caught at any one of the following points in the vehicle production and delivery process:

  1. At the factory during inspection
  2. At the factory as the vehicle was being driven to the holding/staging lot
  3. By the transport company(s) as the vehicle was being loaded and unloaded during transport from the factory in Orion, Michigan to the dealership
  4. At the dealership during the pre-delivery inspection

Yet none of these people or processes managed to catch something as simple (and obvious) as a missing brake pad.

Granted, mistakes are bound to be made, and in most other respects General Motors has been average or above average in recent JD Power quality surveys. Still, how could this happen? If it’s a symptom of the same old-same old at GM, it’s not good.

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Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. mk says:

    agree, GM quality control still sucks like it always has. However, that being sad, my former 2009 corolla LE bought new did NOT have the VSC on/off button installed from factory left of the dash area to the left of the steering wheel. I caught it upon delivery and was frustrated dealer did not catch something that simple and obvious. Let’s face it, quality control and lack of caring and good customer service is abundant in all mfgs. nowadays, including toyota.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well someone should have noticed all the extra brake pads lying around. Seriuosly, not one person at the plant saw a few pallets of spare parts?!?!

  3. Josh says:

    They all are smokin pot on the job like the dodge boys! lol. but seriously this is not only bad for business this is a serious deathtrap, the cars not very big to begin with but the first time you have to anchor the brakes they won’t be there!

    I could understand a sticker, a button not installed, maybe a bad CD changer, but the brakes are part of the everyday safety system of a vehicle. Shame on Chevy, I think this is worse than Fords spontaneous airbag deploy and definitely worse than the Toyota none existent sticking gas pedal. You going to launch an investigation NHTSA?

  4. Jason (Admin) says:

    Dez – I know, right? How does this happen if everyone is paying attention?

    mk – True. It’s not perfect no matter what, and when people get lazy, quality suffers.

    Anon – Good point too.

    Josh – You said it. Missing buttons and badges are one thing. Missing brake pads or brake system components? That’s a major problem.

    As for NHTSA, they only investigate problems that have political benefits (LOL – sarcasm). But they should definitely get involved in this one…

  5. mk says:

    I won’t be satisfied satisfied until 100% of the loan plus interest is paid 100% back to us from GM and Chrysler. I understand to some degree why they did it, but if GM is returning any type of profit, 100% of that profit should be given back to pay 100%^ of that bailout loan. No bonuses and no profit sharing and no raises until then period! I worked for GM 6 long wasted years in an office with 3 of those years without a raise that NO ONE got in our office and I was non-union but got same health benefits as union workers. Wonder why 1/2 of the office quit and that was back in the hey day of GM in the 90’s. It makes me sick to my stomach the execs still getting bonuses, etc. at GM they all should be fired.

  6. Jason (Admin) says:

    mk – I hear you. Executive compensation is out of control to begin with, but execs at failed companies? They don’t deserve to earn a bonus until the debt is repaid (with interest).

  7. Mike T says:

    A car minus just one inner or outer brake pad doesn’t lose its ability to stop, but its braking performance will suffer and there is the possibility that other elements of the braking system, like the caliper or rotor, could be damaged as a result of their omission.

  8. Will says:

    Did GM hired workers from Chrysler factory?

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