Fire-Prone Hummer H3s Should’ve Been Recalled As Early As 2009

Earlier this month, we were reporting that General Motors is calling back almost 200,000 Hummer vehicles from the 2006 to 2010 model years. That’s a helluva lot of H3 and H3Ts with a fiery condition, but hear this: NHTSA pressed GM into the recall, with drivers reporting Hummer fires as early as 2009.
Hummer H3T 1 photo
Photo: GM
You heard that right. If it weren’t for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, General Motors would have ignored this problem indefinitely. Documents published by the NHTSA show that the first reported vehicle fire affecting the Hummer H3 happened in March 2009, when an owner filed a complaint with the governmental regulatory agency.

The Hummer H3 owner told in the VOQ (short for Vehicle Owner Questionnaire or consumer complaint) that his SUV started smoldering without any prior notice. The owner courageously leaped into the smoldering Hummer, driving it away from the gas pump to a safe location, where the SUV burned to the ground.

In June 2009, another Hummer H3 owner told the NHTSA that a fire spread from the glove box. The vehicle fire was intense, turning that particular H3 to ashes. In September 2014, in full “Year of the Recalls” swing, GM officials told safety advocates that it’s launching an internal investigation into melting blowers in the HVAC system of H3s and H3Ts. The culprit is as follows: “mismatched electrical conductivity could result in overheating and melting of the blower motor connector module." What did General Motors do after this?

Nada! Absolutely nothing! It closed the investigation this April without taking any action. If you remember our report on the recall, GM initially declared that it’s aware of three fires. Hours after the original announcement, General Motors added that it knew about 42 fires associated with Hummer H3 and H3T models, with the higher number coming from the NHTSA’s VOQ database.

But the recall was announced after NHTSA met with GM on June 18, 2015. To make a long story short, this happened: “NHTSA asked additional questions and directed GM to additional VOQs that appeared to be related to this issue.” Don’t know about you, but “New GM” still abides by the bad business model of “Old GM.” This happening doesn’t fit into a picture that sees General Motors struggling to wash its infamous “Year of the Recall” and "GM Ignition Switch Fund" sins in the eyes of the NHTSA and consumers.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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