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Business update: Engineer's 'switch from hell' began GM recall woes

Inside General Motors, they called it “the switch from hell.” The ignition switch on the steering column of the Chevrolet Cobalt and other small cars was so poorly designed that it easily slipped out of the run position, causing engines to stall. Engineers knew it; as early as 2004, a Cobalt stalled on a GM test track when the driver’s knee grazed the key fob. By GM’s admission, the defective switches caused over 50 crashes and at least 13 deaths.

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