Kenneth Feinberg, the man in charge of the General Motors compensation fund dealing with the its widespread ignition switch woes, has issued an informal, two-letter response to the plaintiffs in more than 70 lawsuits seeking redress for lost resale value of their Cobalts: "No." The cases were recently combined into one, but Feinberg told The Detroit News that the fund will deal "only with death and physical injury claims," and that "perceived diminished value" will get no consideration.
Girl died in the backseat of a Chevrolet Cobalt that crashed in 2006
Natasha Weigel was in the backseat of a Chevrolet Cobalt that crashed in 2006, and she tragically died of her injuries. One of the front passengers was also killed in the crash. However, GM's data only lists the front occupant among those killed in connection with the faulty switches, not Weigel.
At this point anyone with even a passing knowledge of the General Motors ignition switch recall knows that the official number of deaths recognized by the automaker itself caused by the faulty part currently stands at 13 people. That figure is still under much debate, though. Reuters claims that it could be as high as 74 people, citing cases in the affected models with no airbag deployment, and the acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration thinks that it could be higher a
Automaker continues to deal with fallout over delayed recall
General Motors is set to hold a major briefing on the results of its internal probe into the ignition switch debacle this morning, with early reports claiming that multiple employees could be terminated due to their role in the recall.
It's one thing for the Big 3 to get tires and engine parts from cities along the US Rust Belt. It's another thing altogether, though, for Tesla Motors to source far more esoteric materials like graphite, cobalt and lithium from Canada and the northern US. But that's what the California-based company has in mind, and it's all in the name of environmental friendliness and cost, Bloomberg News says.
When it rains, it pours. General Motors has announced yet another major recall, covering 1.3 million units in the American market over concerns that their power steering could suddenly fail. As reported by The Detroit News' David Shepardson, GM has now recalled nearly ten times as many cars as it did all of last year.
NHTSA Declined Investigation In '07; GM Said Cost Of Fix Was 'Too High' In '05
A senior investigator within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wanted to open an investigation into defective Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion models in November 2007. The director of the agency's Defects Assessment Division had spotted a trend of airbag non-deployments in the two General Motors models – early evidence of a problem included four fatal accidents, 29 complaints and 14 field reports.
Days before Congress holds hearings on why it took General Motors so long to let millions of car owners know about a potentially deadly defect, the car company admitted more cars are affected and is recalling nearly one million more cars globally.
General Motors is facing additional lawsuits in California and Alabama relating to the faulty ignition switches that have forced it to recall some 1.6 million Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn vehicles. These suits are a bit different than GM's other legal issues, though.
US Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, is echoing the call of safety advocates in requesting that the Justice Department create a compensation fund for those killed or injured behind the wheel of General Motors vehicles with faulty ignition switches.