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GM retains former BP oil spill fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg to help with ignition switch crisis

General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra said her company has retained former BP oil spill administrator Kenneth Feinberg to shepherd the company through its options amid its ignition switch crisis. In her opening remarks to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Tuesday, Ms. Barra divulged GM’s selection of Mr. Feinberg to help the company explore its options. GM faces mounting litigation, civil fines, and possible criminal penalties over its failure to recall a defective ignition switch that has been blamed for multiple deaths. Resolving the crisis with complainants and the government could end up costing the automaker billions of dollars. ... Read More

GM approved subpar ignition switches, manufacturer says

General Motors (GM) approved ignition switches that are being blamed for multiple crashes, deaths, and injuries even though the mechanisms failed to meet the company’s specifications, the company that supplied the part told congressional investigators. According to documents released ahead of an April 1 testimony by GM’s CEO Mary Barra, Delphi Automotive noted that tests revealed the ignition switches’ torque performance fell below the target set by GM, but the automaker allowed them to be used in its new Chevrolet Cobalt and five other models. The faulty ignition switch is liable to allow the key to switch off the engine ... Read More

Did GM, NHTSA turn a blind eye to deadly ignition problem?

Both General Motors (GM) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have said that despite receiving numerous reports and complaints of the ignition switch defect that turned about 1.6 million U.S. cars into potential deathtraps, it was not easy to spot a trend in the data. No red flags apparently went off. However, CBS News investigated the same data from NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting system, which is used to report accidents resulting in deaths and injuries, and found that GM reported there were many more claims of injury and death in 2005 and 2006 Chevrolet Cobalts with airbags as ... Read More

GM dealerships inundated with worried drivers amid ignition switch safety recall

Many General Motors (GM) customers affected by the company’s ignition switch recall are too spooked to drive their vehicles, afraid that they could become the next victim of a defect that could suddenly shut down the engine and all safety systems, including the airbags. Owners of the 1.6 million vehicles affected by the defect will receive a letter from GM formally notifying them of the recall, what repairs are proposed, and the timeline for a fix. The automaker expects parts to start arriving at dealerships nationwide next month, but because so many cars are involved, it could take several months ... Read More

Feds look for evidence of cover-up in GM ignition switch investigation

Toyota Motor Corp.’s admission last week that it intentionally misled customers and federal authorities about the extent of sudden unintended acceleration problems in its vehicles resulted in a $1.2 billion penalty — the largest fine against an auto manufacturer in U.S. history. But does General Motors face a similar fate for its failure to recall faulty ignition switches in a timely manner? It’s a possibility that likely has GM executives on edge as the company has only recently reclaimed its steady footing after a 2009 government bailout saved the automaker from extinction. Court documents and other evidence indicate that GM ... Read More

Congress sets hearings on GM ignition switch recall

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will testify before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee April 1 as lawmakers attempt to understand why the company she took over in mid-January knew about a potentially deadly ignition switch defect in some of its vehicles for more than a decade but failed to recall them until this past February. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will question Ms. Barra in an effort to understand if “this tragedy could have been prevented and what can be done to ensure the loss of life” doesn’t happen again. GM announced two recalls in February of 1.6 ... Read More

GM tried to repair ignition switch twice but didn’t tell authorities, drivers

General Motors changed an internal part of its defective ignition switches to make it harder for the key to fall out of position and turn off the engine, but didn’t tell drivers or regulators about the fix, according to a recent lawsuit filed by the parents of a Georgia woman who was killed in 2010 when her 2005 Chevy Cobalt shut down unexpectedly and crashed. The secret fix provides more evidence that GM has known about the ignition switch defect for years but failed to properly notify authorities and warn its drivers. According to the lawsuit filed by the parents ... Read More

GM announces three new safety recalls involving 1.5 million vehicles

General Motors (GM) has recalled another 1.5 million vehicles in three separate recalls to correct problems that could pose a threat to the safety of drivers and passengers of the affected models. The announcement comes just four weeks after GM started recalling millions of vehicles to correct defective ignition switches that have been blamed for several crashes and deaths in the past decade. One of the newest recalls addresses a problem affecting the wiring harness of seat-mounted airbags and includes 1.18 million 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia vehicles, 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse crossover SUVs, and 2008-2010 Saturn Outlook crossovers. Another ... Read More

Liability immunity may fail to shield “new” GM from ignition switch lawsuits

General Motors Co. (GM) is facing the first in a likely wave of personal-injury, wrongful-death, and product liability claims as evidence emerges that the company knew ignition switches in some of its models were defective but failed to warn drivers about the potentially deadly hazard and recall the affected vehicles in a timely manner – a move that could have saved many lives. Until now, those scarred by crashes involving the affected cars have had no legal recourse against GM, not just because they had no knowledge of the defect, but because GM received legal immunity when it was reorganized ... Read More

Study links 303 deaths to GM vehicles with defective ignition switch

As many as 303 people may have been killed in crashes involving General Motors (GM) vehicles with defective ignition switches, according to a study commissioned by the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington D.C.-based consumer watchdog group. GM recalled around 1.6 million automobiles this week. The recall addresses a defect in the ignition switch that may allow the key to slip from the “run” position if the keychain is overweight or the vehicle hits a bump, stalling the engine and cutting off power to the steering, brakes, and airbags. The Center for Auto Safety hired Friedman Research to analyze data from ... Read More