GM says now that it knew of ignition switch problems in more than one and a-half-million vehicles in 2001.  That's three years earlier than the automaker previously had reported.  GM says the switch problem has been connected with at least 34 crashes and is linked to at least 12 deaths. 

Filings published Wednesday by GM also show it waited more than two weeks to expand a major recall to include the Saturn Ion and other compact cars.  Before yesterday, GM had said it became aware of the switch problem in 2004 with the Chevrolet Cobalt.  The problem is that a heavy key ring may cause the ignitions in those vehicles to shut off.