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GM Recall Sends Microheat, Inc. Up In Smoke

Posted in auto industry, Car Tech, GM, Newsworthy by Suzanne Denbow | October 7th, 2008 | 3 Responses |

In September, GM issued a recall on a total of 944,000 of its vehicles over concerns of electrical fires. According to the NHSTA, a short circuit in the wiper fluid system’s electric wiring could cause other electrical features to malfunction, overheating the circuit board and posing a significant fire hazard. The system, which was found mostly in GM’s luxury vehicles, was engineered by Microheat, Inc. To compensate for the equipment failure, GM is suing Microheat to the tune of $20-$25 million, the estimated cost of the the recall. In turn, last month Microheat filed suit against GM, claiming the automaker owes them $3.7 million in payment for products shipped in July, August, and September.

In the wake of the costly events, operations within Microheat were shut down and currently only a skeleton staff remains at headquarters in Detroit. While Microheat CEO Ron Guardhouse refrained from commenting on the situation, employee sources within the company confirmed that the skeleton staff is preparing for Microheat’s closure.

[News Source: Auto News]

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3 Responses

  1. Justin says:

    First note, that doesn’t look like a 2006 thru 2008 GM model in the picture above. A little drama can be damaging to a persons perspective of the situation.

    Second, GM has stated that 944,000 vehicles from 2006 thru 2008 require rework due to the HotShot wiper fluid heater, but this item has been in their vehicles since 2002. I can’t believe that there would have been a drastic re-design in the unit to cause this recall. What about the 2002 thru 2005 model years, should they beconcerned?? I would say the issue isn’t Microheat’s unit but more likely a critical engineering issue with the wiring harness of their newer vehicles. Sounds like GM is looking for a sacrificial lamb.

    With the way the market is today, GM wouldn’t last a lawsuit from consumers whereas they can close a smaller company and look like heroes for ‘protecting’ the people. I guess time will tell if the problems continue without the Hot Shot unit.

  2. daryl says:

    The unit in question was not on any production vehicles, GM or otherwise, prior to 2006. Microheat did sell some units to the public as an aftermarket kit just prior to selling them to GM, some through Webesto. But Webesto exited this business very quickly.

    Note that the failures cross several vehicle lines and is not limited to one model of car. This indicates that the problem is isolated to the unit and not wiring.

  3. Kevin Cramer says:

    I worked at Microheat and am now out of a job. I was on the assembly line and we were getting ready to place them in all the Ford products. We just had a dry run with Ford and now after the recall problem it looks like a closed door. I have been out of work due to this problem. Too bad no one could work things out………can’t we all just get along….?