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GM recalls another 7.6M cars over ignition switch problems

General Motors signage is displayed outside of General Motor of Canada Ltd. headquarters offices in Oshawa on Aug. 8, 2011. GETTY IMAGES/BLOOMBERG/Brent Lewin

General Motors is recalling at least 7.6 million more vehicles dating back to 1997 to fix faulty ignition switches.

The latest recall involves mainly older midsize cars and bring GM’s total number of recalls this year to over 28 million.

The company says it is aware of three deaths, eight injuries and seven crashes involving the recalled vehicles. GM says it has no conclusive evidence that faulty switches caused the crashes.

GM is offering to pay at least a million dollars to the families of those who died as a result of an ignition switch defect in GM cars.

The automaker will give another $300,000 for each surviving spouse and dependent, in addition to a sum of money that will be determined by the victims’ earning potential.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who devised the compensation plan, gave details on it on Monday morning.

“Whatever it costs to pay all eligible claims under the protocol they will pay it. There is no ceiling on the aggregate dollars,” Feinberg said.

“Also, GM has said under this program anybody who already settled their claim with GM before they knew about this cover-up — or this ignition switch problem may rip up the release they signed and come back into this program to get additional compensation.”

At least 13 people died, and many more were injured as result of a faulty ignition switch installed in 2.6 million GM cars.

GM is also offering money to drivers, passengers and pedestrians injured in crashes that were caused by the defect in those cars. The amount they’ll be compensated will depend on the severity of their injuries.

GM employees first discovered the faulty ignition switch in 2004, but the recall wasn’t announced until February of this year.

The problem can cause cars to shut off while driving, disabling the airbag and power steering.

GM has seen more than 20-million of its cars recalled this year for different problems, but the ignition switch problem was one of the more high-profile recalls.

Trading in GM stock was halted just before 2:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday. At the time it was trading at $36.84, up 23 cents for the day. The stock resumed trading about 30 minutes later, and was down about 1.3 per cent to $36.17.

With files from The Associated Press