There was no conspiracy to hide ignition switch issue: GM CEO
Incompetence and neglect led to General Motors' (GM's) long failure to recall millions of cars over ignition switch defect but there was no conspiracy to conceal the issue, the auto giant's CEO Mary Barra said in an internal probe report.
The report contains findings of the company's internal investigation into why the automaker did not recall millions of vehicles with faulty ignition switches earlier. The report also details the automaker's actions in wake of the revelation of the issue, such as dismissal of fifteen executives.
The report says that the company had issues with the ignition switch from the very beginning. The switch never met the company's specifications, but its engineers approved it for use anyway, a wrong decision that complicated the company's later efforts to resolve the issue.
Firstly, the switch's electrical system was so tricky that it had to be designed again. Then it was found to not have enough torque, which allowed it to be mistakenly switched off.
Outlining the findings, Barra said fifteen employees found responsible for not briskly dealing with the issue had been forced to leave the company, while five other employees had been disciplined.
But analysts said that Barra and other leaders of the company would have to persuade consumers to think that GM has already shed its old ways.
Daniel G. Hill, president of crisis-management firm Ervin Hill Strategy, said, "It is a real trick to say 'we had a decade of a pattern of incompetence and I wasn't a part of it,'? Part of their effort is to convince consumers that the new GM is not the old GM."
Thus far this year, GM has ordered nearly 30 recalls affecting as many as 16 million vehicles in North America, which cost the company more than $1.7 billion.
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