GM CEO Mary Barra -- thinking the unthinkable.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) recalls yet more vehicles. The total now exceeds 2.5 million cars, trucks, and SUVs. Congress is preparing to grill Barra and the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) for their organizations' respective failure to recognize the problems, which may have contributed to the deaths of hundreds of people.
smh. Could this get any worse for GM? Still, there's something about Mary.
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General Motors is expanding its ignition switch recall by nearly a million cars and recalling about 680,000 new vehicles for unrelated defects...bringing the total number to more than 2.5 million.
The latest quality problems come as GM CEO Mary Barra is scheduled to testify before Congress...to explain why the automaker failed to order a recall...a decade ago.
The ignition switch recall...now includes all versions of the Chevrolet HHR, Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Sky, Saturn Ion, Pontiac Solstice and Pontiac G5. ... The expanded recall affects 824,000 vehicles in the U.S., 132,000 in Canada, 5,700 in Mexico and 9,000 in the rest of the world. MORE
If GM knew it had a problem, why wasn’t something done? ... Congress will seek the answer to that question and others this week. ... Barra may try to limit her answers...citing an ongoing internal review and government investigations [which] could annoy committee members, who will want to know why the system failed. ... Here are some questions lawmakers are likely to ask:
Why did it take so long to recall these vehicles? ... Why was a proposed fix [10 years ago] never implemented? ... Why didn’t NHTSA open an investigation? ... Does NHTSA have the staff and expertise to deal with the volume of data it’s getting? MORE
Why [did] NHTSA fail...to launch an investigation? [The agency] will be in lawmakers' cross hairs...notwithstanding [chief David] Friedman's insistence that the agency could have spotted the problem if only GM had shared more information.
NHTSA officials met with GM employees in March 2007 [and] mentioned a NHTSA-commissioned investigation into a July 2005 crash in Maryland in which the airbags...did not deploy. They noted the car's ignition was in the "accessory" position. ... GM, for its part, seems to have recognized a link...but apparently, NHTSA didn't. MORE
Perhaps you’ve not heard of the General’s news-making plight, unfolding just as people temporarily stopped grousing about [the] idea of government having a stake in a car company. ... If, on the other hand, you’ve heard the story of GM’s current woe, prepare yourself to hear lots more of it.
It all follows from the revelation that the giant carmaker...spent six years (2001-2007) selling cars...with a faultily designed ignition switch that could on occasion turn itself...shutting down engines and disabling airbags...when weighted down by something as improbable (not) as a heavy keychain. By GM’s account there have been 31 crashes and 13 people dead as a result...(not 13 but 303, according to a preliminary study [for the] Center for Automotive Safety) because of the airbags’ failure to go off.
As always seems the way with these things, someone at the company knew of the defect. [And] the...NHTSA may have been negligent itself, failing to demand a recall as soon as data came in suggesting its necessity. ... The General will pull through this...we predict. But not, if history is any guide, before senior management’s claims of lack of knowledge of the defect are disproven. ... We’ve seen this movie before. MORE
Though modified ignition switches were fitted at the factory, General Motors is now recalling some 2008-2011 models because it has no way of knowing if any car has since been repaired using one of the older types of switch. ... Because it is not feasible to track down all the parts, the company is taking [this] extraordinary step.
Until the recall has been performed, GM is urging customers to remove all items, including the key fob, from their key rings, leaving only the vehicle key. MORE