I contacted the Kansas Attorney General's office and filed a complaint asking that Chevrolet be compelled to recall the vehicles and fix them with door handles that will not snap off. Here is the text of what I sent. Copy this text and make a similar complaint with your state and maybe we can get these cars recalled and fixed:
I purchased a 2011 HHR used from Carmax in November. Within a month as I attempted to exit the vehicle the inside driver's door handle snapped off and broke. I got on the internet and started investigating what it is going to take to fix the door handle and it was in the course of this inquiry that I found out this is a chronic problem with the HHR going back to at least 2006. The cost of fixing the handle at the dealer is about $500 because Chevrolet's fix is to replace the entire inner door panel. I did find an OEM solution for $85 but that is not what this is all about.
Not being able to exit the vehicle in an emergency constitutes a public safety issue. If the car were involved in an accident and the passengers needed to exit the vehicle immediately they may not be able to if the door handle breaks off. It is my opinion that this issue represents a clear and present danger to consumers. Several scenarios come to mind: 1) the vehicle becomes disabled on railroad tracks with an oncoming train, 2) the vehicle is involved in an accident and the vehicle is on fire or 3) the vehicle drives off the road into a body of water. All of these very common scenarios could lead to an unnecessary death of one or more occupants.
It is my opinion that the Attorney General should compel Chevrolet to recall these vehicles and replace the inside door handles with devices that will not fail.
I have provided a few links here that are representative of what I found out while searching the internet:
As you can see from some of these posts I am not the only person who considers this a safety issue. I do not expect a car to be designed to perfection - there will be problems but some issues are completely unacceptable and I feel being trapped in the car is one of them. Repairing the handle is not enough - the issue must be addressed so the handles do not break off.
Product or Service Mentioned: Chevrolet Car.
Monetary Loss: $500.