GM says 290,000 cars need new air bag inflators

Tuesday, September 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DETROIT – General Motors Corp. has warned owners of 290,000 Buick and Oldsmobile sedans that driver-side air bags could deploy unexpectedly, but a recall will not begin until later this year because GM does not have parts to fix the problem.

GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan said 60 injuries, all minor, have been reported from 115 incidents of air bag deployment in the vehicles. The problem affects 103,000 1995 Buick Regals and 187,000 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes from 1995-96 sold in the United States and Canada.

The problem is caused by corrosion on a wire linked to the air bag inflator. GM has to find a supply of new air bag inflators, which will take a few months, Mr. Rhadigan said. GM hopes to start repairs in December.

Until vehicles can be repaired, Mr. Rhadigan said GM has advised drivers that while the problem is rare, they should sit a safe distance from the air bag and always wear seat belts. In some cases, the air bag warning light came on and stayed lit before the bag deployed.