Regular readers probably know the story of the Chevrolet Volt NHTSA post-crash fire by heart, but here are the important details as a refresher: The original car that triggered the investigation was crash tested by NHTSA in May. Three weeks later, in early June, the same car caught fire while in storage. The outside world first heard about the incident in November.
If that timeline seems a bit drawn-out to you, you're not alone – the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending are also raising questions. According to Automotive News, the subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), has announced that he will hold hearings in late January on the matter. He said in a statement:
The official reason for keeping the information quiet, as stated by General Motors and NHTSA, is that it wasn't until NHTSA was able to recreate the fire that the decision was made to inform the public. Through the summer and fall, the fire was considered a "singular instance." Either way, it's much more than that now...
It gives us great concern that recent reports indicate important safety information may have been omitted in testimony before our committee just a few weeks ago. This is a serious situation that our committee will look further into.