General Motors Under Investigation Because of Defect Possibly Linked to 12 Deaths

FBI is joining investigation into how GM handled the problem.
3:00 | 03/12/14

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Transcript for General Motors Under Investigation Because of Defect Possibly Linked to 12 Deaths
Thank you, Amy robach. Now, we turn, next, to general motors, America's largest automaker. And tonight, the subject of a criminal investigation because of those engines that shut down in cars without warning. A defect reportedly linked to 12 deaths. Tonight, ABC news has learned the FBI is on the investigation. ABC's chief business correspondent, Rebecca Jarvis. Reporter: For the people who've experienced it, it's terrifying. The car had its own mind. And it was going where it wanted to go. Reporter: Walter lubo was driving his 2006 chevy cobalt just last month, when the power shut down and the steering locked. I flipped. I spined out to the middle of the road. My air bag did not deploy. Reporter: Megan Phillips says the same thing happened to here. All of a sudden, I had no control of the car. And I thank god I still have my life. Reporter: Gm is now recalling 1.6 million cars. Models from 2003, to 2007, including the chevy cobalt, pontiac sole cities and ion. The problem was with the ignition, shutting down the car and its safety system, including the air bag. Gm says a heavy key chain or rough roads can cause the problem. Gm has known of complaints for over a decade. But it wasn't until last month that they issued the recall. Now, ABC news has learned there's a criminal investigation already under way by the FBI and justice department, focusing on what gm told regulators and when. And what, if anything, gm omitted. In the meantime, general motors offering anyone with a recalled car a free loaner and $500 to buy or lease a new gm vehicle. Rebecca Jarvis, ABC news, New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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