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GM's latest recall of 8.4 million cars is one of the largest in history

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The troubled automaker widens the scope of its investigation

Michael Kumm / Flickr

GM announced another massive recall of vehicles today involving around 8.4 million vehicles from the 1997 to 2014 model years, the latest in an expanding investigation into defective ignition systems that have been blamed for multiple deaths.That means it has now recalled around 28 million vehicles this year alone, nearly three times what it sold — and more than the 22 million recalled by all automakers — in the year 2013.

"Our customers deserve more than we delivered in these vehicles."

In its press release, the company wrote that it was aware of seven crashes, eight injuries, and three fatalities involving affected vehicles, hedging by noting that "there is no conclusive evidence that the defect condition caused those crashes." The recall is easily one of the largest automotive recalls in US history, according to data compiled by CNN, but it's still far short of the largest: in 1980, Ford recalled 21 million cars over a defect that caused them to slip from park into reverse.

GM CEO Mary Barra — who just recently took the helm at the troubled automaker — is now weathering the most difficult storm since GM's bankruptcy several years ago. "Our customers deserve more than we delivered in these vehicles," she says in the official press release. "That has hardened my resolve to set a new industry standard for vehicle safety, quality and excellence."

Contrition only goes so far, though: GM now says that it expects to take a $1.2 billion hit against its second quarter earnings as a direct result of its ongoing recall woes, and the fallout could get far worse as wrongful death lawsuits and federal investigations continue.