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Bad Decisions at GM

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On: Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 12:29PM | By: Karen Cook

Bad Decisions at GM

Due to the recent GM recall concerning a faulty ignition switch, the manufacturer is being asked some very tough questions by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If you own one of these vehicles, I’m sure you want answers too.

The defect caused the ignition to fail and shut down major systems in the vehicle. Initially the recall covered 778,556 vehicles but was expanded to 1.37 million in the face of 31 accidents and thirteen deaths caused by the defect. The list of currently recalled vehicles is as follows:

2003-2007 Saturn Ion 2006-2007 Chevy HHR

2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice 2006-2007 Saturn Sky

2005-2007 Chevy Cobalt 2005-2007 Pontiac G5

The reason the NHTSA has its knickers in a twist is that GM apparently knew about the ignition switch issue in 2004, but continued to outfit all the above models with the defective part. Contained in the documents GM has already provided to the government is a decision not to replace the switch by “higher ups” in the company way back in 2005. Following this decision were at least 10 deaths over the next two years. These deaths were most likely due to the ignition switch causing the airbags not to deploy, which was one of the problems GM was aware of from the beginning.

The NHTSA wants to know exactly how it happens that the airbags do not function in connection with the switch which also causes power steering and power brakes to fail. In a statement from GM’s North American division president Alan Batey, the company admits that its handling of this issue was “not as robust as it should have been.” Do ya think? The federal agency is also requiring a detailed game plan from GM on how it plans to refine its recall process. That’s an easy one. When you find a defect that could kill people who buy your cars, recall and fix it.

The law requires car manufacturers to report these kinds of issues within a few days of discovery. As of now no penalties have been levied against GM, but if that changes it could cost them $35 million per violation.


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