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A statement released by General Motors details the recent recall of the Chevy Cruze: “General Motors will recall 413,418 Chevrolet Cruzes in the United States for the 2011 and 2012 model years to modify the engine shield under the vehicle. This change will help prevent any liquids from being trapped in the engine compartment, where a fire could start and spread.” In what appears to be yet another setback for the historically troubled General Motors Corporation, every single Chevrolet Cruze sold in the United States will now be recalled. Approximately 53,000 of those recalled vehicles manufactured in 2011 and 2012 may also suffer from a loose fuel tank strap which could lead to leakage or spillage and, if near a source of ignition, could result in a fire.

The recall will modify the engine shield to prevent liquids from becoming trapped, leading to a fire hazard. Either hydraulic fluids or engine fluids can potentially come into contact with the engine shield under certain circumstances, and both those fuels are flammable. GM officials state the problem occurs primarily during an oil change when oil is spilled and not properly cleaned up although the Cruzes with worn-out transmissions have also been found to leak fluids onto the shield.

Owners of the Chevy Cruze will begin receiving notification of the recall beginning on July 11th; the free fix should take no more than half an hour and can be completed at any Chevy dealership. For this recall fix, the plastic shield will be cut, allowing fluids to drain rather than remaining in the shield and creating a fire hazard. Owners who have one of the cars with a defective fuel tank strap bracket could spend several hours at the dealership as this fix is more complex.Some of these recalled vehicles are missing the weld from the bracket which holds the fuel tank, allowing it to come loose in a crash. These defective brackets will be secured with special fasteners.

Until 2008, GM was the world’s biggest carmaker, producing over nine million cars and trucks per year across 34 countries. Since the Cruze was unveiled in September of 2010, it has boosted GM’s financial standing after a bankruptcy filing in 2009, giving them a strong contender in the small-car market. This was an area where GM has historically struggled, and when the Cruze was the top-selling compact in the U.S. from May-September of 2011 it was cause for celebration. Unfortunately during the two years since the Cruze hit the American market, it has suffered five recalls, raising serious concerns about the reliability of the small sedan. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, eight other new models were marketed in the second half of 2010, yet only two—aside from the Cruze—have suffered a recall.

While GM Vice-President of Global Quality, Alicia Boler-Davis assures Cruze owners that “The most important thing for our customers to know is that we are proactively working to assure the Cruze is the safe and durable car they purchased,”many in the industry feel this number of recalls on a new model vehicle is a bad sign. At least thirty fires have been reported by owners of the Cruze, although no injuries have occurred. In the case of two of the cars, flames totally engulfed and destroyed them resulting in reports to federal safety officials. Even so, the Cruze is a long way away from setting records for recalls—the Chevy Citation, Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Omega and the Pontiac Phoenix all had a whopping 13 recalls in their first two years on the market.

The base model Cruze starts at around $18,000, seats five and gets approximately 38 highway miles per gallon. GM has apologized to its customers for the inconvenience associated with a recall however wants customers to know that the Cruze is both safe and durable.