GM Failed Customers With Tragic Results in Delayed Ignition-Switch Recall, CEO Says | Edmunds

GM Failed Customers With Tragic Results in Delayed Ignition-Switch Recall, CEO Says


Just the Facts:
  • General Motors "failed customers" and engaged in a "pattern of incompetence and neglect," said CEO Mary Barra on Thursday as she detailed the results of an internal investigation into the delayed ignition-switch recall of 2.6 million small cars.
  • GM is expected to begin accepting compensation claims from victims by August 1.
  • Details on eligibility will be released in the next few weeks, GM said.

DETROIT General Motors "failed customers" and engaged in a "pattern of incompetence and neglect," said CEO Mary Barra on Thursday as she detailed the results of an internal investigation into the delayed ignition-switch recall of 2.6 million small cars.

GM is expected to begin accepting compensation claims from victims by August 1.

Details on eligibility will be released in the next few weeks. GM said it will compensate those who lost loved ones or suffered serious injury as a result of the defect.

The internal report by former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas found "no conspiracy by the corporation to cover up facts," Barra said.

The recalled vehicles include all 2005-'10 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2003-'07 Saturn Ion small cars. GM said 13 fatalities are linked to the recall, which was stalled for 11 years.

The report led to the dismissal of 15 GM employees, including several unnamed executives. Five other GM employees have been disciplined.

"Overall the report found that, from start to finish, the Cobalt saga was riddled with failures which led to tragic results for many," Barra said.

Barra revealed the results of the report in a town hall meeting to GM employees. She described the report as "extremely thorough, brutally tough and deeply troubling." But she urged employees to commit to changing the culture at the automaker.

"I want you to never forget it," she said of the recall crisis. "This is not just another business crisis for General Motors. We are going to fix the failures in our system. I never want to put this behind us. I want to keep this painful experience permanently in our collective memory."

Barra told employees and consumers to expect "a few more recall announcements" from GM in the coming weeks as the automaker redoubles its efforts to put a greater emphasis on safety and quality.

Regarding the ongoing ignition-switch recall, Barra said as of June 4, 280,000 repair kits had been produced and over 113,000 repairs are complete.

"Dealers have done a fabulous job," Barra said in a press conference following the town-hall meeting. "In many cases, they are working to make it as easy as possible for the customers."

The entire report will be posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees vehicle recalls in the U.S., sometime on Thursday.

Edmunds says: The GM CEO told employees to contact her directly if they couldn't get potential defects addressed themselves. From all indications, this is the start of a new, more responsive era at General Motors.

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