General Motors is recalling more than half a million Chevrolet Camaros because their ignition switch can suddenly turn off when bumped and shut the engine -- a problem similar to the defect that led the automaker to recall millions of small cars this year.
The recall, one of several announced Friday, covers about 510,000 Camaros worldwide from the 2010 to 2014 model years.
GM said that a driver's knee could bump the key fob, inadvertently causing the ignition lock cylinder to switch out of the "run" position. The turning of the key, GM said, could result in a "reduction or loss of power." The automaker said that the problem would most likely affect drivers sitting close to the steering column.
GM said it was of a different design than the faulty ignition switch found in older Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other small cars that GM has linked to 13 deaths. For more than a decade, GM knew about that problem but failed to recall those cars until this February.
"The Camaro ignition system meets all GM engineering specifications and is unrelated to the ignition system used in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars included in the ignition switch recall," GM said in a statement.
GM said it was aware of three crashes and four injuries that may be related to the defect in the Camaros, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received at least a dozen complaints from owners about stalling, including two owners who said they bumped the ignition key and the engine turned off.
One was the owner of a 2012 Camaro who filed a complaint in May.
"When the ignition switch key is slightly bumped with knee the car shuts off," the owner said in the report. "Three times now. Dealership is not responsive. Taught my teen drivers what to do if this happens and this saved my daughter's life when it happened to her."
Another complaint came from the owner of a 2014 Camaro who said the engine turned off when the car was going 60 mph.
GM said that it found the problem during internal testing it conducted after the 2.6 million-vehicle ignition switch recall this year, and that it would fix the problem by replacing the key with a type where the fob is separate from the key, ostensibly reducing its mass.