Regulatory agency missed chances to uncover GM defect, report says
Five months after the top official at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration promised to reform the federal agency charged with keeping motorists safe, it remains mired in dysfunction and inaction.
This has been a bad year for recalls. The US auto industry broke the record for repair campaigns months ago, and with about 25.8 million vehicles needing fixed, General Motors has gotten close to 2013's total full-year figure of 27.96-million recalled cars all on its own. You might think that used car buyers would run screaming for the hills from all these faulty models, but a recent study finds the exact opposite to be true. In fact, one of The General's vehicles actually gained value slightly,
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.
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
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.
The ongoing investigation into General Motors' 1.6-million-car ignition recall continues to pick up steam, with most questions centering on what the company knew and when it knew it. On Tuesday, newly minted CEO Mary Barra held a press conference to directly address questions about GM's safety problems and their ramifications. In addition to public criticism and potential lawsuits, the business is facing multiple government examinations into how it handled the issue.
General Motors is facing an investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over its handling of a recall affecting roughly 1.6 million cars, but the automaker may have found a legal shield from possible future consumer lawsuits. The solution hinges on the old, pre-bankruptcy GM, and the new company that emerged afterward. While the name is the same, on paper they are technically different firms.
General Motors' problems with its recall of roughly 1.6-million vehicles continue to mount. Now that it has emerged that GM knew about the problem since at least 2004 but waited to recall vehicles until February 2014, regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have begun a much deeper investigation. NHTSA has sent a 27-page survey to GM that includes 107 questions about the timeline of what led up to the recall, and it has until April 3 to reply.
Well, this is not good for General Motors. Following a report last week that GM was recalling 778,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compacts over concerns that the ignition could switch out of the "run" position without warning, USA Today reports that the Detroit-based behemoth knew about the issue, which affected 2005 to 2007 Cobalts (the Cobalt shown above and in the gallery is from 2010) and 2007 Pontiac G5s, all the way back in 2004.