(Reuters) - General Motors Co is adding 971,000 cars to its global ignition switch recall, which began in February with 1.6 million vehicles and has been linked to a dozen deaths.
GM said the recall is being expanded to include versions of the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice and Pontiac Sky made during model years 2008-2011.
Older versions of those cars, dating back to 2003, were recalled in February, along with the Saturn Ion.
GM said the newer models were equipped with a redesigned ignition switch, but that some of those cars might have been repaired with older replacement parts that may be faulty.
GM also is recalling all the replacement ignition switches that have been sent to U.S. aftermarket distributors, the spare parts market.
Reuters reported this week that it was still possible to purchase GM brand ignition switches manufactured by Delphi Automotive carrying the same parts number as the product at the center of the February recall.
These switches may not be defective, but it is nearly impossible to tell unless they are taken apart or the manufacturing history is checked.
A GM spokesman said "we're not taking any chances" that some of the newer cars could have ignitions that could be switched from "run" to "accessory," shutting down the engine and disabling the cars' power steering, power brakes and airbags.
GM had said on Thursday that the replacement ignition switch it has ordered from Delphi to use in the earlier recall will bear a new part number that "eliminates any potential confusion about which part to use in the repair," according to a company spokesman.
The spokesman on Friday said GM decided to recall all the replacement parts currently in stock at U.S. parts distributors "out of an abundance of caution."
GM said Friday that no deaths or injuries have been linked to faulty ignition switches in the newer models that have been added to the recall.
(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit, editing by Peter Henderson)