WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Thursday said it will continue to extend federal oversight of General Motors' review, decision-making and communications about potential vehicle safety issues for another year.
The order comes a year after GM agreed to pay a record-setting $35-million civil penalty for delaying a recall of 2.6 million vehicles, including the 2005-'10 Chevrolet Cobalt, for ignition-switch defects that led to non-deployment of airbags. The defects are linked to 104 deaths.
"GM learned a hard lesson last year," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. "We expect to see the improvements they've made continue and that their new approaches are applied to every GM safety issue and every recall. Today's action will keep them on the right track."
NHTSA said it is not extending the order "based on a concern with GM's performance to date, but rather to continue the dialogue those requirements have facilitated on important safety issues."
Thursday's announcement is yet another indication of a new get-tough policy at NHTSA when it comes to dealing with vehicle safety and recalls, including the massive Takata recall for defective airbag inflators.
GM is required to meet monthly with federal safety regulators and disclose detailed safety issues.
"We have used our monthly meetings with NHTSA to foster a relationship that's candid, transparent and totally focused on the safety of our customers," said Alan Adler, a GM spokesman, in response to a query from Edmunds. "We've come a long way and we fully intend to build on this progress."
Edmunds says: Consumers should be reassured by this latest action by federal safety regulators. It means that all automakers are under greater scrutiny and will be held accountable for the safety of their products.