Monthly Archives: June 2014

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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.

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GM CEO Publicly Apologizes to Families of Victims Killed in GM Recall Vehicles

The chief executive of General Motors, the largest auto manufacturer in the United States, issued a formal apology to family members of the thirteen people who were killed in car crashed resulting from faulty ignition switches that her company made. She admitted that for at least ten years her company failed to tell the public about the defective switches as well as failing to properly respond to customer complaints about the problem that led to accidents which took the lives of 13 people. Mary Barra, the company’s recently appointed chief executive officer, issued the apology at a congressional hearing in Washington on April 1st after the company recalled more than 2.5 million of its vehicles to repair the problem.

The vehicles were all model years 2005 to 1020. Barra claimed she did not know why the company took such a long time to address the faulty ignition switches or disclose the problem to the public. She promised to launch an internal investigation into why the problem took so long to address and to be “fully transparent” with the findings. The company’s own records that were provided to government officials show that it was aware of the problem as early as 2001.

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GM Doubles Its Initial Ignition Recall Numbers

Earlier in the month, General Motors announced a recall of several hundred thousand vehicles due to a faulty ignition switch that caused the engines of the vehicles to shut off unexpectedly and the airbags to fail to deploy. The original recall was for the Chevrolet Cobalt and the Pontiac G5 and was issued on the 13th of February. The announcement on the 25th of February was for four additional GM models which included the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, the 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, the 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice, and the 2006-2007 Saturn Sky.

In addition to the latest recall announcement, the company has announced that it has linked seven additional deaths to the fault ignition switches. This increases the number of deaths directly linked to the problem from 6 to 13. The number of crashes that have resulted from the faulty switches also increased from 22 to 31. The original recall was for more than 700,000 vehicles. With this latest addition to that recall more than 1.37 million vehicles are now under recall in the US with an additional 253,000 being recalled from Mexico and Canada. GM stated that the company acknowledges a failure to properly respond to the customer complaints about the problem which they began receiving as far back as 2004.

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GM Issues First Recall of Vehicles With Faulty Ignition Switches

On February 13, 2014, General Motors announced that it would be recalling more than 600,000 small cars throughout the United States as the result of a defective ignition switch. The defect causes the ignition to shut off unexpectedly and failure of the airbags to deploy. According to sources, the ignition shut off and airbag deployment typically occur when the vehicle experiences what the company is calling a “jarring event” such as when the vehicle hits a pothole. It has even been reported that ignition keys that are attached to a heavy key ring could cause the shut off and lack of deployment due to the weight of the ring.

The vehicles that were recalled were the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and the 2007 Pontiac G5. More than 150,000 vehicles were also recalled in Canada as well as more than 6,000 in Mexico. General Motors has claimed that it was aware of at least six deaths that occurred as the result of five separate crashes involving the defective vehicles. In each of these cases it was reported that the airbags did not deploy. In a statement issued by a spokesman for the company, it was said that the company was also aware of at least 17 other crashes in which airbags failed to deploy

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