UPDATE 3-GM dealers stop selling some Cruze sedans with Takata air bags

Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:17pm EDT

(Adds update from GM on stop-sale order)

By Bernie Woodall and Paul Lienert

DETROIT, June 25 (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Wednesday told its North American dealers not to sell an inventory of about 33,000 new and used Chevrolet Cruze sedans from model years 2013 and 2014 because of a potential problem with air bags made by troubled Japanese supplier Takata Corp .

Potentially faulty air bags supplied by Takata have led to the recall of about 10.5 million vehicles worldwide, many of them made by Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co .

GM said about 33,000 Cruze sedans "built with the suspect part supplied by Takata" are in dealer hands, most of them in the United States and Canada. The automaker has not recalled the 2013-2014 Cruze sedans in consumer hands and said it does not yet know whether there have been any crashes, injuries or deaths related to this issue.

GM said late on Wednesday that Chevrolet dealers will be able to start selling "most Cruzes" again on Thursday, outside the 33,000 with the potentially faulty part.

The Cruze is GM's top-selling car in North America. GM has built about half a million 2013-2014 model year Cruze sedans since October 2012.

For model year 2013, GM introduced a new Takata "smart" driver-side air bag on the Cruze which the automaker said helps reduce the risk of injury in crashes.

On Wednesday, GM said, "Certain vehicles may be equipped with a suspect driver's air bag inflator module that may have been assembled with an incorrect part."

Production of Cruze sedans continues at GM's plant in Lordstown, Ohio, a GM spokesman said.

In a separate action involving Takata air bags, GM in May expanded an earlier recall of the 2012 Cruze and several other models because air bags might not deploy in crashes because of an electrical problem. The expanded recall covered 38,636 cars, all from model year 2012, including the Buick Verano, the Chevrolet Sonic and the Chevrolet Camaro.

The new stop-sales order on the Cruze follows a series of safety-related problems that have plagued GM since early this year, many of them because of air bag-related issues.

So far this year, GM has issued 44 recalls covering about 20 million vehicles globally. Among those recalls is one for older model Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM small cars with faulty ignition switches, which have been linked to the deaths of at least 13 people.

The stop-sales order for Cruze was first reported by Automotive News. (Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Chris Reese, Steve Orlofsky and Cynthia Osterman)

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