GM tells dealers to stop selling some Chevy Cruzes

A 2014 Chevy Cruze
General Motors

DETROIT - General Motors (GM) has told dealers to stop selling about 21,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars from the 2013 and 2014 model years.

But the company won't say why. Spokesman Greg Martin says he has no details on the Cruze.

Dealers say stop-sale orders are routine and almost always made to fix a safety problem. They received the order in an e-mail Thursday, but no reason was given.

The stop-sale order was first reported Friday by the trade publication Automotive News.

The order covers Cruzes equipped with 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engines. Spokesman Alan Adler said Friday it includes about one-third of the Cruzes on dealer lots across the nation. At the end of February, GM had 63,714 Cruzes in dealer stock, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank.

The move comes as GM deals with fallout from a delayed recall of 1.6 million older small cars to fix an ignition switch problem. The company says the switches can slip out of the run position and shut down the engine. That causes loss of power steering and brakes and disables air bags.

GM says the problem has been linked to 31 crashes and at least a dozen deaths.

A congressional committee this week began sifting through documents from GM amid allegations that the car manufacturer took too long to order the recall. The company also faces numerous lawsuits related to the faulty ignition switches.

GM chief executive Mary Barra is scheduled to address lawmakers next week to answer questions about the car giant's internal handling of the ignition switch problem.

"We need to find out when GM knew, why they didn't inform the public, and what they intend to do to make sure all of the cars that are on the road are safe to drive," said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., the ranking member of the House committee investigating GM's recall, on Friday. "GM has said the cars are safe if drivers remove everything from their key rings. It will take until October to fix all the recalled cars."

Barra has previously apologized for GM's slow response to the defects, admitting that GM took too long to issue the recall.

"I am very sorry for the loss of life that occurred, and we will take every step to make sure this never happens again," she told reporters earlier this month.

GM shares were up roughly 1 percent, to $34.88, in early afternoon trading.