The Times of India and the Hindustan Times are reporting that a panel appointed by the Indian government to look into General Motors’ recall last summer of 114,000 Chevrolet Tavera multiple use vehicles says that the company violated testing regulations, according to a government official who has seen the report. The recall came after a surprise check by the Automotive Research Association of India, an industry group that works with India’s Ministry of Transportation, found that the Tavera’s production diesel engines were not consistent with those that GM had supplied for testing.
The official told the news agency that the fault was GM’s not the lab doing the testing. Speaking on background, the official said, “The report has pointed out that it is in the nature of corporate fraud. It says only the [automaker] was responsible for whatever happened,” and that the automaker’s Indian subsidiary could be fined as much as 100 million rupees ($1.6 million) under current regulations. GM India released a statement saying that company policies had been violated and that it had identified those resposible.
Back in July, GM recalled the Indian made Tavera SUVs over the emission issue and also stopped production. At the time, The Economic Times of India reported that GM had told government investigators that employees had fitted vehicles sent for testing with ‘ringer’ engines, engines known to meet the standards.
Sam Winegarden, GM’s vice president for global engine engineering, and several other employees were fired when the scandal broke for unspecified “violations of company policy”.
“We determined there was an emissions problem,” GM India said in a statement on Tuesday. “We investigated it and identified violations of company policy. We held people accountable. And, we advised Indian authorities. Beyond that, we’re not able to comment as we’ve not heard from the government or seen the report.”
The company also reported to Reuters that it has received regulatory approvals and restarted production of the Tavera BS III models at its plant in Halol in the state of Gujarat state. GM India Vice President P. Balendran said, “GM India has already received BS III 7,8,9 and 10 seater type approvals and production has also started. BS IV approval is under process and approval is expected anytime now and will start production soon.”