GM CEO Grilled By US Senate Officials for Company's Safety Negligence
The chief executive officer of General Motors, Mary Barra, endured several hours of grueling attacks by US Senate officials regarding the company’s failure to disclose to the public defects in several of its vehicles for more than ten years. The Senate hearing heard many officials accuse the company of proliferating what they called a “culture of cover-up”. Barra responded to several of the accusations by claiming that the company had made significant changes throughout its corporate infrastructure and was ready to move forward. Officials responded to those claims, however, by stating that under the company’s new management headed by Barra it had still waited nine months before taking action on the defect issue.
The recall was issued because of a defective ignition switch that caused the vehicles to shut off unexpectedly and the airbags to fail to deploy. The vehicle’s power steering and power brakes also stopped working when the engine shut off, resulting in several crashes over at least a ten year period and as many as 13 deaths. Barra was grilled for more than two days during the Senate hearings as lawmakers demanded answers about who was directly responsible within General Motors for the company’s slow response to the problem.