GM Places Two Engineers on Paid Leave in Wake of Ignition-Switch Recall | Edmunds

GM Places Two Engineers on Paid Leave in Wake of Ignition-Switch Recall


Just the Facts:
  • Two unidentified General Motors engineers have been placed on paid leave as part of an ongoing internal investigation into the circumstances leading to a recall of 2.6 million GM cars for defective ignition switches.
  • GM CEO Mary Barra confirmed the action following a briefing from Anton Valukas, the former U.S. attorney overseeing an independent internal investigation.
  • The company also said it has created a "Speak Up for Safety" program to recognize employees for ideas that make vehicles safer.

DETROIT — Two unidentified General Motors engineers have been placed on paid leave as part of an ongoing internal investigation into the circumstances leading to a recall of 2.6 million GM cars for defective ignition switches, the automaker announced on Thursday.

GM CEO Mary Barra confirmed the action following a briefing from Anton Valukas, the former U.S. attorney overseeing an independent internal investigation.

"This is an interim step as we seek the truth about what happened," Barra said in a statement posted on the GM Web site. "It was a difficult decision, but I believe it is best for GM."

The company also said it has created a "Speak Up for Safety" program to recognize employees for ideas that make vehicles safer and for speaking up when they see something that "could impact customer safety."

GM said the campaign is intended to remove "perceived and real barriers to candid conversations between employees and their leaders as a step to foster a ‘safety first' culture."

"GM must embrace a culture where safety and quality come first," Barra said. "GM employees should raise safety concerns quickly and forcefully, and be recognized for doing so."

More details will be announced in the next 30 days, GM said.

The GM internal probe is going on as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigates whether GM failed to provide timely information that could have resulted in a faster recall. Two congressional committees held hearings about the timeliness of the recall last week and may ask GM engineers to testify in future hearings.

GM will replace ignition switches in 2.6 million cars after reports of 13 deaths and 31 crashes. The defective ignition switch can affect the safe operation of the airbag systems, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recalled GM vehicles include:

*All 2005-'10 Chevrolet Cobalt
*2005-'07 Pontiac G5
*2003-'07 Saturn Ion
*2006-'11 Chevrolet HHR
*2006-'10 Pontiac Solstice
*2007-'10 Saturn Sky

Repairs to the recalled vehicles begin this week, but the process to fix all cars may take as long as six months.

Edmunds says: GM takes some concrete steps to deal with the fallout of the ignition-switch recall, but many questions still remain.

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