GM said it was aware of four crashes that resulted from the problem, but no injuries.
The company said the recall affected Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura cars from model years 2007 through 2010 and equipped with four-speed automatic transmissions. GM will repair the condition in which the transmission gear position may not match the gear on the shifter.
The recall affects 426,240 in the United States, 40,029 in Canada and 7,572 in other markets.
Dealers will add a reinforcement to the shift cable end fitting to prevent that part from fracturing, GM said. Owners will be notified by letter to schedule the free repairs at dealers, and those who have had the work done already will be eligible for reimbursement.
The company also said it was recalling 6,475 Chevy Sonic subcompact cars globally because they might not alert the driver to a faulty turn-signal bulb.
Dealers will reprogram an incorrectly calibrated module for the cars built between May 29 and August 29 at GM's Orion, Michigan, plant.
The recall affects 4,716 cars in the United States and 1,759 in other markets.
GM said it was unaware of any crashes or injuries stemming from the problem. Owners will be notified of the Sonic recall by letter beginning October 3.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Lisa Von Ahn)