As awareness grew last year of General Motors’ failure to disclose a dangerous defect in millions of older cars, its executives had a clear message for the public: Safety was G.M.’s first priority.
By the end of the year, G.M. had recalled a record number of vehicles — 30 million in North America — and overhauled its safety practices.
But the company’s handling of a recent steering issue sheds new light on where G.M., and regulators, draw the line at what constitutes a safety issue worthy of a recall.
Specifically, owners of some of General Motors’ most popular cars are complaining of a problem that they say is dangerous because the steering wheel can stick after driving in one position for long periods.