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June 30, 2014

GM Announces Compensation Plan for Victims of Car Crashes Related to Vehicle Recalls

The safety crisis that has consumed General Motors for virtually all of 2014 continued this past week as the company announced the recall of an additional 8.4 million vehicles around the world. The recall is for a problem with the ignition switches in the vehicles, a similar problem which caused many of the company’s recalls over the last five months. In addition to the latest recall, independent compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg revealed a plan by the company to compensate the individuals who were involved in accidents that resulted from the defective ignition switches.

The compensation plan promised to pay victims who had been critically injured a substantial sum, and more than $1 million each to the families of victims who had been killed in the crashes. The plan that Fienberg outlined even included payouts for any accidents that occur through the end of the 2014 calendar year. It is believed by many in the know that the payouts could reach into the billions of dollars when all is said and done. Feinberg said, however, that it is a critical step for General Motors in restoring the public’s trust and will help keep the company from having to spend years engaged in court battles that would certainly prove detrimental for both the company and the victims and their families.

June 26, 2014

GM Accused by US Lawmakers of Neglect

Regarding the dozens of recalls the General Motors has issues throughout the first six months of 2014, US lawmakers accused the company of exhibiting what they call a “disturbing patterns” of safety neglect. They revealed a number of emails from 2005 that had one of the company’s employees warning that a “big recall” might be needed because of an ignition switch problem. The company’s chief executive officer withstood another public appearance before a Congressional committee, her third so far this year, and answered hard questions about the ignition switch problem - that is believed to have caused several car crashes of GM vehicles - that resulted in at least 13 deaths over the last ten years.

But it was more than just the recall itself and its causes that lawmakers and Congressional officials was asking the CEO about. They wanted to know details about why the automaker suffered from such rampant safety failures and neglected to address them for so long. The internal emails from 2005 that were made public as part of the probe by US lawmakers spoke of a GM engineer who had personally experienced the ignition switch problem when the 2006 Chevrolet Impala that she was driving shut off during operation, locking up the power steering and the power brakes.

June 25, 2014

GM Announces Additional Recalls

Troubled American automaker General Motors Company, the largest auto manufacturer in the United States, has announced yet more recalls of its vehicles. More than 100,000 additional cars and trucks worldwide have been affected by this latest recall which brings the total number of recalls issued by the company to 34. That number includes the major recall earlier in 2014 of vehicles that had a faulty ignition switch that was directly linked to car crashes that resulted in the deaths of at least 13 people.  The recalls issued to this point in 2014 now cover nearly 14 million vehicles in the United States alone and nearly 16 million around the world. 2.6 million of those vehicles were recalled for defective ignition switches.

An internal probe that was released by General Motors indicates that several of the company’s engineers and other lower-level employees were well aware of the faulty switch problem over the course of more than a decade but did nothing about it. Despite the clear culpability of those employees, however, many top executives were exonerated in the report. The latest recall covers the heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado, the 2014 and 2015 GMC Sierra, the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and the GMC Yukon.

tags: GM recall, Ignition switches, Ignition defects, Ken Feinberg, Compensation/Feinberg
June 24, 2014

15 GM Employees Fired for Their Role In Faulty Ignition Switch Scandal

It has been determined through General Motors’ own internal investigation of a problem with ignition switches in several of its vehicles that the delayed recall by the company, which is believed to have led to the deaths of at least thirteen people, was the direct result of misconduct by as many as 20 of the company’s employees. The report called the delay in issuing a recall sooner part of a “pattern of incompetence and neglect” that was clearly widespread throughout the automaker.

GM’s newly appointed chief executive officer Mary Barra made the announcement that 15 employees had been fired with an additional five employees receiving disciplinary action after a three-month investigation by a former federal prosecutor. It was stated by the CEO that some of the firings were the result of gross incompetence and misconduct while others were the result of individuals simply not doing enough to help address and correct the issue. She stated that the report represents a failure by the company to meet the basic needs of the customers directly affected by the faulty vehicles. She also stated that the personnel at General Motors demonstrated an inability to address the ignition switch issue and that inability persisted for more than a decade. 

tags: GM recall, Ignition switches, Ignition defects, Ken Feinberg, Compensation/Feinberg
June 23, 2014

GM Issued $35 Million Fine by US Department of Transportation

General Motors came to an agreement in which it will pay a fine of $35 million as a settlement of an investigation into why the company took an entire decade to address an ignition switch problem in several of its vehicles. GM admitted that its engineers were well aware of problems that the ignition switches were having as far back as 2004. The faulty ignition switches caused the affected vehicles to shut off unexpectedly during operation, a condition which also shut off the vehicle’s power steering capability, its power brakes, and caused the failure of the airbags to deploy.

The problem has been linked to at least 13 deaths that resulted from car crashes in affected vehicles and while the customer complaints had been coming in to the company as far back as 2001, GM only issued its first recall for the problem in February of this year. In addition to the monetary portion of the settlement, the company has agreed to make significant internal changes to its culture and corporate infrastructure that regulators hope will help the company better detect safety issues in its vehicles. The recall has prompted GM to create a new position of vice president of global vehicle safety as well as hiring up to 40 additional safety investigators.

tags: GM recall, Ignition switches, Ignition defects, Ken Feinberg, Compensation/Feinberg
June 22, 2014

GM Engineers Proven to Have Known About Faulty Ignition Switches

Several documents that were released by a Congressional committee in April show that engineers at General Motors, the country’s largest automaker, were acutely aware of grave problems with ignition switches in certain of the company’s smaller model vehicles. The documents showed that despite their awareness of the problem they neglected to take advantage of a number of opportunities to address and fix what was wrong. GM has recalled more than 2.5 million of its vehicles in the United States, Mexico, and Canada since February.

One of the company’s parts suppliers also did several tests on the switches that were used in the vehicles and found that they did not meet the automakers safety standard specifications. GM’s internal documentation states that the automaker, the parts supplier, and one United States safety agency noted several examples of cases in which the switch in question failed. The documents were released by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and according to members of the Committee, showed widespread “failures within the system”. It is still unclear at this point exactly how early on executives at General Motors were aware of the problem but some speculate it was as early as 2001.

tags: GM recall, Ignition switches, Ignition defects, Ken Feinberg, Compensation/Feinberg
June 21, 2014

GM CEO Grilled By US Senate Officials for Company's Safety Negligence

The chief executive officer of General Motors, Mary Barra, endured several hours of grueling attacks by US Senate officials regarding the company’s failure to disclose to the public defects in several of its vehicles for more than ten years. The Senate hearing heard many officials accuse the company of proliferating what they called a “culture of cover-up”. Barra responded to several of the accusations by claiming that the company had made significant changes throughout its corporate infrastructure and was ready to move forward. Officials responded to those claims, however, by stating that under the company’s new management headed by Barra it had still waited nine months before taking action on the defect issue.

The recall was issued because of a defective ignition switch that caused the vehicles to shut off unexpectedly and the airbags to fail to deploy. The vehicle’s power steering and power brakes also stopped working when the engine shut off, resulting in several crashes over at least a ten year period and as many as 13 deaths. Barra was grilled for more than two days during the Senate hearings as lawmakers demanded answers about who was directly responsible within General Motors for the company’s slow response to the problem.

tags: GM recall, Ignition switches, Ignition defects, Ken Feinberg, Compensation/Feinberg
June 20, 2014

GM CEO Publicly Apologizes to Families of Victims Killed in GM Recall Vehicles

The chief executive of General Motors, the largest auto manufacturer in the United States, issued a formal apology to family members of the thirteen people who were killed in car crashed resulting from faulty ignition switches that her company made. She admitted that for at least ten years her company failed to tell the public about the defective switches as well as failing to properly respond to customer complaints about the problem that led to accidents which took the lives of 13 people. Mary Barra, the company’s recently appointed chief executive officer, issued the apology at a congressional hearing in Washington on April 1st after the company recalled more than 2.5 million of its vehicles to repair the problem.

The vehicles were all model years 2005 to 1020. Barra claimed she did not know why the company took such a long time to address the faulty ignition switches or disclose the problem to the public. She promised to launch an internal investigation into why the problem took so long to address and to be “fully transparent” with the findings. The company’s own records that were provided to government officials show that it was aware of the problem as early as 2001.



tags: GM recall, Ignition switches, Ignition defects, Ken Feinberg, Compensation/Feinberg
June 19, 2014

GM Doubles Its Initial Ignition Recall Numbers

Earlier in the month, General Motors announced a recall of several hundred thousand vehicles due to a faulty ignition switch that caused the engines of the vehicles to shut off unexpectedly and the airbags to fail to deploy. The original recall was for the Chevrolet Cobalt and the Pontiac G5 and was issued on the 13th of February. The announcement on the 25th of February was for four additional GM models which included the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, the 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, the 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice, and the 2006-2007 Saturn Sky.

In addition to the latest recall announcement, the company has announced that it has linked seven additional deaths to the fault ignition switches. This increases the number of deaths directly linked to the problem from 6 to 13. The number of crashes that have resulted from the faulty switches also increased from 22 to 31. The original recall was for more than 700,000 vehicles. With this latest addition to that recall more than 1.37 million vehicles are now under recall in the US with an additional 253,000 being recalled from Mexico and Canada. GM stated that the company acknowledges a failure to properly respond to the customer complaints about the problem which they began receiving as far back as 2004.

tags: GM recall, Ignition switches, Ignition defects, Ken Feinberg, Compensation/Feinberg
June 18, 2014

GM Issues First Recall of Vehicles With Faulty Ignition Switches

On February 13, 2014, General Motors announced that it would be recalling more than 600,000 small cars throughout the United States as the result of a defective ignition switch. The defect causes the ignition to shut off unexpectedly and failure of the airbags to deploy. According to sources, the ignition shut off and airbag deployment typically occur when the vehicle experiences what the company is calling a “jarring event” such as when the vehicle hits a pothole. It has even been reported that ignition keys that are attached to a heavy key ring could cause the shut off and lack of deployment due to the weight of the ring.

The vehicles that were recalled were the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and the 2007 Pontiac G5. More than 150,000 vehicles were also recalled in Canada as well as more than 6,000 in Mexico. General Motors has claimed that it was aware of at least six deaths that occurred as the result of five separate crashes involving the defective vehicles. In each of these cases it was reported that the airbags did not deploy. In a statement issued by a spokesman for the company, it was said that the company was also aware of at least 17 other crashes in which airbags failed to deploy

tags: GM recall, Ignition switches, Ignition defects, Ken Feinberg, Compensation/Feinberg