By on April 18, 2014

Recalled GM ignition switch

The Detroit News reports U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos delivered a six-page ruling in favor of General Motors, saving the automaker from issuing a “park it now” order that would have proved costly both financially and in reputation. Had the order gone forward, it would have set a precedent that not even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could attempt in its limited penalty power. The attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit for the order, Robert Hilliard, may appeal.

In other legal news, GM has filed a request with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco to prevent lawsuits filed against the automaker in recall-related incidents prior to the 2009 exit from bankruptcy, reinforcing the liability protections established during the bankruptcy proceedings. GM is currently facing 41 separate lawsuits from 19 U.S. district courts, which may be consolidated into a single venue by a judicial panel in the early stages. The bankruptcy court in New York will rule on jurisdiction April 25.

Autoblog reports CEO Mary Barra will create a new group within the company to be headed by vice president of global product development Mark Reuss that will work with vice president of global vehicle safety Jeff Boyer in monitoring new products for potential safety concerns. Barra also addressed the suspension of engineers Gary Altman and Ray DeGiorgio during her 2014 NYIAS eve announcement:

Let me be really clear, these are real people with real careers, and I’m personally dedicated to making sure we have true facts of what happened… We agonized over that decision, but we thought that was the right thing for the individuals and right thing for the company at this time.

The Detroit News adds North America president Alan Bately, speaking before analysts and investors at the 2014 New York Auto Summit during the 2014 New York Auto Show Wednesday, proclaimed his employer was focused on safety, citing the Chevrolet Trax’s standard rearview camera as an example. When asked about the recall and whether money would be set aside to handle warranty and liability claims down the road, however, Bately said that until internal investigator Anton Valakus completed his work, GM wouldn’t have any answers to offer.

Meanwhile, the myriad of documents delivered to Congress and the NHTSA this week threw more fuel to the smoldering recall crisis when it was revealed GM and supplier Delphi redesigned an ignition switch on the Cadillac SRX prior to production in February 2006 after test drivers accidentally bumped the ignition out of power in a manner similar to the switch at the heart of the recall, which didn’t see a redesign until April of the same year. GM added that the expanded recall of 2008 – 2011 vehicles affected by the out-of-spec switch would cost the automaker $40 million, and that 109 vehicles not under the recall may have received the defective part, as well.

Finally, Fortune magazine senior editor-in-chief Allan Sloan posits that Barra was thrown under the bus GM built in the 13 years prior to then-CEO Dan Akerson passing the torch to her late last year. He also suggests that instead of the federal government, the media and the general public taking her to task for everything wrong with GM as of late, blame should be laid at the feet of the correct people involved in setting the stage: Rick Wagoner, Ed Whitacre and Akerson.

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67 Comments on “GM Saved From ‘Park It Now’ Order, Looks To Strengthen Liability Protections...”


  • avatar
    Cirruslydakota

    “Finally, Fortune magazine senior editor-in-chief Allan Sloan posits that Barra was thrown under the bus GM built in the 13 years prior to then-CEO Dan Akerson passing the torch to her late last year. He also suggests that instead of the federal government, the media and the general public taking her to task for everything wrong with GM as of late, blame should be laid at the feet of the correct people involved in setting the stage: Rick Wagoner, Ed Whitacre and Akerson.”

    Akerson: Hey guys, how do we get everyone to take it easy on us for this mess when it comes out?

    GM Board: Easy, lets promote a woman to lead the company, the public loves “moms” and that’s the in thing right now. They’ll be sure to take it easy on her and thus the rest of GM!

    Akerson: Brilliant! Wish I had thought of that! Now, our next topic. I’m sad to announce ill be retiring effective immediately and I think its time for us to lead the industry by promoting a woman to lead this company! May I introduce GM’s next CEO Ms. Mary Barra!

    Marry Barra: What?!

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      +1 ! And completely apposite to the story ! Freaking damn well brilliant actually !

    • 0 avatar
      old fart

      +1. GM is an old boys club

    • 0 avatar

      so if you can afford an SRX you got a fixed switch sooner ?

    • 0 avatar

      > Finally, Fortune magazine senior editor-in-chief Allan Sloan posits that Barra was thrown under the bus GM built in the 13 years prior to then-CEO Dan Akerson passing the torch to her late last year.

      This is a somewhat amusing but still naive view of how corp life at the top works, and it’s no less apropos coming from the EIC of “Fortune”.

      A competent sociopath befitting head role at GM should have no problem managing the congressional/media finger-pointing theater over some trivial issue and redirecting that bus over a lower-ranking officer prepped beforehand for this contingency. On the bright side, they’re finally getting around to it:

      “new group within the company to be headed by vice president of global product development Mark Reuss that will work with vice president of global vehicle safety Jeff Boyer in monitoring new products for potential safety concerns”

      > blame should be laid at the feet of the correct people involved in setting the stage: Rick Wagoner, Ed Whitacre and Akerson

      As much fun it may be to beat on these horses, GM’s not-my-problem culture is hardly unique and this specific case had zero connection to them. Barra *accepting being seen* at fault for it anyway in a company with hundreds of more pressing problems demonstrates it’s amateur hour at the top.

      For some podunk company a completely reactionary response to what happened to Toyota might pass, but leadership at GM’s stature should be smarter at learning from their peer’s mistakes: giving the mob the narrative it wants just makes the scripted outcome foregone.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    Oh gee .. look ! Surprise Surprise . Once again a US District Judge .. no doubt having a bit of ‘ under the table ‘ influence going on sides in favor of the Corporation and at the expense of the Consumer /Common Man

    Golly …. what a shock ! Here ? In the US of A ? Damn right here in the US of A ! This being SNAFU since the 1800s . Anyone who thinks otherwise just isn’t paying attention

    And lookee there . Once again GM is trying to weasel out of their legal/liable responsibilities … making ludicrous claims that ….THAT GM …. is not THIS GM

    Amazing . Governments and Courts siding with Big Money …. and GM once again weaseling out of their responsibilities . Will miracles never cease ?

    Hey … honestly . I know we made our fair share of mistakes and were a bit misguided on a lot of issues back in the 60′s – early 70′s . But the fact is . Overall ;

    We were 150% right on the mark . Todays business and government zeitgeist proving us more right by the minute .

    Phi Beta Zappa ! Freak yer Greek baby … its been long overdue . Or at the very least . Break out the cynicism and put it to good use . Vote ! … with your checkbook ! We do . Which is why no GM product of any kind will ever find its way into our home/garage/driveway .

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      I’m no fan of GM, but I think this was a pretty uncontroversial ruling. In this case the judge chose to defer to the technical people at the NHTSA, who he decided were in a better place to decide this sort of thing than he is. (Even if the NHTSA has no capability to order a “stop-drive”, their “voluntary” suggestions are usually accepted, as they can put an automaker through a whole world of hurt if they are ignored.)

      And GM disclaiming liability from “old GM” is a pretty normal part of bankruptcy law, for both individuals and consumers. A pile of assets is assigned to the bankruptcy estate, and creditors (including lawsuit claimants) fight over those scraps, while the remainder of the company (or consumer) lives on to fight another day.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        OK … this comment clinches it ! No further inquiry needed . You are either delusional , desperately uninformed or a corporate shill of some sort .

        BTW ; Might I also suggest a hefty course in Corporate Bankruptcy as it applies to manufacturers of mass consumer Transporation goods and their liability there in ? Not to mention an in depth study as to the reality of GM’s so called ‘ bankruptcy ‘ as well as ‘ reorganization’ ?

        As well as the role corporate influence/money does – has and always will have when it comes to the NHTSA’s decisions ? Along with the EPA USGS [ fracking in particular ] etc I might add … and in fact the US Government in general ( pun intended ) ?

        Get a freaking clue ! Big Money talks ! All the rest of us being welcome to Take a very Long Walk off a very short pier

        • 0 avatar
          sirwired

          Absent legislation changing this, the question for GM liabilty claims for pre-BK cars has been settled.

          While I don’t have any particular expertise in corporate law, I found an article (apparently written by a product liability plaintiff attorney) explaining all this and pretty much agreeing that going after GM directly in a suit for a pre-BK car is futile (unless and until the law is changed voiding this protection.)

          http://www.brandilaw.com/CM/Articles/Do-Auto-Products-Liability-Claims-Have-Life-After-Bankruptcy.pdf (It looks pretty thorough to me, and I don’t think anybody is going to accuse him of being “Delusional, desperately uninformed, or a corporate shill”)

          Read my posts again. I didn’t say any of this was a good thing; I merely said that it is not unusual in a corporate BK for the “new” entity to avoid liability incurred by the old. That’s the current state of the law (confirmed by that article I linked to), whether or not it’s the just thing to do.

          (Interestingly, it mentioned that Chrysler obtained similar conditions in its bankruptcy discharge, but has chosen to voluntarily waive them.)

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          sirwired’s comment was rational, plainly stated and (in my opinion) legally correct. Simple logic, clearly set out.

          You write like you’ve been off your meds for a while.

      • 0 avatar
        360joules

        “…pretty normal part of bankruptcy law…”

        But GM didn’t go through a normal bankruptcy.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Someone needs to kill this bogus “not normal bankruptcy” meme with fire, once and for all.

          • 0 avatar
            toxicroach

            It wasn’t a normal bankruptcy.

            Hell, it was over in a few months when some unemployed schlub living out of his 97 Ford Ranger takes 5 months.

            The “new gm” popped out a month after the bankruptcy filing. It was absolutely not a normal bankruptcy.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The supposed gripe is that creditor priority rules were somehow violated.

            Of course, this is coming from the same people who don’t understand that secured debt is not synonymous with guaranteed repayment, and that most bondholders in the corporate world are unsecured (including GM’s.)

            They also seem to be blissfully unaware of the cramdown statute. Perhaps Google doesn’t work on everyone’s computer.

            Better still, these guys still haven’t figured out that the GM secureds were paid at par. The ignorance is something to behold.

        • 0 avatar
          sirwired

          The way the assets were divvied up between healthcare, pensions, and creditors wasn’t “normal” (normally something like a retiree healthcare fund or pensions would be lumped in with the other unsecured creditors, but the govt. made further bailout payment contingent on preferred status for employee claims), but the separation between “old GM” and “new GM” was normal.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Going concerns need workers. As Henry Ford figured out, the biggest expense comes from not being able to produce.

            The VEBA was willing to cut a deal; the bankruptcy team needed its cooperation. At the same time, it was a large enough creditor that its ability to agree to the quick rinse and deliver the necessary workforce gave it some leverage to haggle.

            Cramdowns are common in large reorganizations. There are sections of the Bankruptcy Code that allow for their use.

            The only “abnormal” thing here was that governments in the US and Canada were the DIP lender/ equity providers. But it’s pretty obvious that there was no one else to take their places.

      • 0 avatar
        old fart

        Someone should be charged with manslaughter for the 13 deaths.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    The idea of bankruptcy absolving a company from “old” liability/warranty/whatever claims is not a new or controversial one. It’s no different when a consumer goes through bankruptcy; most debts are not carried forward into the post-bk company.

    And just like consumers can, with the permission of the bankruptcy court, choose to pay their house, but not their credit card, companies can choose to pay, say, warranty claims, but not liability claims.

    Now, there are exceptions to this rule, and I don’t pretend to be an expert on BK law, but the general concept is sound and perfectly uncontroversial.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      That good sir is a pant load of legalease …. utterly incorrect … and ludicrous as well from each and every perspective .. period !

      What is it with people like you ? Blinded by reality ? Head in the Sand ? So overwhelmed by corporate influence as to not being able to see the truth right in front of your eyes ? Or [ gasp ] Yet another GM shill making its way onto another automotive website in order to convince all of us that GM really are the good guys in all this ?

      If none of the above ? Might I suggest a course or two in corporate law as well as corporate history 101 .. not to mention US history and the role/influence of Big Money in the US since .. oh .. say the mid to late 1800s ?

      Sound & Uncontroversial my @$& . Maybe on Planet GM / Corporation World perhaps . But here on Planet Earth and especially in the US there are laws on the books protecting us from bs such as this . Not that they’re ever implemented though . Big Money ruling the roost … yours/our lives … and the Judicial System as well .

      • 0 avatar

        > That good sir is a pant load of legalease …. utterly incorrect … and ludicrous as well from each and every perspective .. period !

        Why are you pretending to know something about law? I mean, it hasn’t exactly gone well with any of the other subjects up to now.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      New GM agreed in its purchase and sale agreement (the current GM is a new entity that bought some of the assets and liabilities of another company that is now being liquidated) to assume liability for recalls of vehicles that were built or sold prior to its acquisition (pre-BK.) The New GM did not agree to assume liability for crash incidents that occurred prior to its purchase.

      And yes, the judge’s ruling was not particularly surprising. That’s one of those things that could have gone either way, with the possible outcome varying a lot based upon the judge’s temperament. (Judges can be a fickle and capricious bunch.)

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        There was no doubt what so ever as to what the judges decision on this would be . In Favor of GM being the foregone conclusion from the moment it entered the court system . And ! All bets are .. unlike Toyota [ which is not a US based corporation ] GM’s fines and penalties in all of this will no doubt be absolutely minimal . The NHTSAs ludicrously minscule fine handed to GM being the first of many examples to come

        e.g. It aint about the Judge there site mate . Its ALL about the money . US money that is ;-)

        Nuff said on this one . I’m knackered , the fingers are worn and theres compositions etc to attend to

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          @ gutterslinger wrote:

          ” Nuff said on this one . I’m knackered , the fingers are worn and theres compositions etc to attend to”

          Well, nobody here is complaining if you give us a rest from the idiocy that characterizes your every utterance.

          You’re wrong nearly [every] time, believe you are an e..xpert on everything//….. semi colon exclamation mark comma incorrect brackets whacko jumbled thoughts, no memory retention, think you’re LJKS reincarnate, believe you write for web sites and other delusions.

          Time for some serious professional help. You know you’ve been meaning to.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      You and your logic and case law and historic reference.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Ms. Barra actually wasn’t clear regarding the two engineers. I don’t like it. I wonder if the GM bus is running over these guys.

    Also, why does the lead photo show throttle position sensors instead of ignition switches? Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    mcs

    >> Let me be really clear, these are real people with real careers

    So are/were the people that bought these cars. This investigation should have taken no more than 2 weeks. I wonder if they’re afraid of what the engineers will say to the press if they’re fired?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Two weeks?!?!

      I’ve said many times what GM has done is reprehensible but – two weeks?!?!

      Where do people come up with thiese ideas?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> Where do people come up with thiese ideas?

        Actually, it’s probably much less. But, when litigation is involved, I’m extra careful. I rely a lot on electronic discovery combined with my artificial intelligence expertise. It’s fast and effective. You also have to have total authority and sometimes being nice isn’t part of the equation.

        • 0 avatar

          > I rely a lot on electronic discovery combined with my artificial intelligence expertise. It’s fast and effective.

          How does AI “expertise” help with a complex human-factors case when AI can’t even climb a ladder without falling off?

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> How does AI “expertise” help
            http://goo.gl/hMzM4g

            AI for parsing and understanding text isn’t that difficult – at least compared to dealing with image recognition and analysis.

            One way you might use is if there’s an email or text that’s kind of vague – like if it’s short and just says “Did you meet with her yet about the issue we discussed?” you can use it to search other sources and find out who “her” is and what the issue was they were discussing. Maybe checking other emails, calendars etc. Another application would be to check browser history after a meeting or event. If you don’t know exactly what happened at meeting sometimes you can get an idea what happened by checking the attendees browser history when they returned. If everyone starts searching Westlaw and looking up attorneys or career websites, it tells you something. Another example is an embezzling CEO looking up Cayman Island travel related sites after getting an email that another tranche of money is coming in. When the money disappears you know where it went. I actually ran into something similar, but it was manual searching that found it.

          • 0 avatar

            > AI for parsing and understanding text isn’t that difficult – at least compared to dealing with image recognition and analysis.

            “understanding”. For someone pretending to know about AI, maybe you should consider reading something about the subject. Here’s something really easy:

            http://www.cs.nyu.edu/davise/papers/singularity.pdf

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            When you’ve designed blind conditions hands off aircraft landing systems, u mad scientist, you can say what you want. Your mean-spirited, mocking digs are just that. An internet know it all on every subject just like gutterslinger agenthex.

            Meanwhile, I’d suggest you not fly again if you don’t trust mcs. A trivial point, but perhaps necessary for your ongoing peace of mind.

          • 0 avatar

            > When you’ve designed blind conditions hands off aircraft landing systems, u mad scientist, you can say what you want. Your mean-spirited, mocking digs are just that. An internet know it all on every subject just like gutterslinger agenthex.

            mcs is simply speaking out of his depth on this issue, just as you are on how the ttac sw works. This is easy to identify for those who understand how things work, just as it appears for you in relation to gtrslngr:

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/gm-saved-from-park-it-now-order-looks-to-strengthen-liability-protections/#comment-3122210

            > Meanwhile, I’d suggest you not fly again if you don’t trust mcs. A trivial point, but perhaps necessary for your ongoing peace of mind.

            Designing an aircraft landing system is easier than it might seem compared to general linguistic “understanding” because landing strips are designed to have high visual contrast, nothing in the equation is prone to sudden movement, esp the ground, and most everything here is deterministic.

            OTOH, human language is an open problem.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    The difference between GM and every other automaker = GM got caught. I know if it was one of my loved ones I would be mad as hell, and I am not trying to absolve GM of any liability. But this is the world we live in and nobody is perfect, not GM, not Toyota, not Tesla, not Apple, (insert favorite company here). If you are making millions of products a year that have hundreds of parts and are used with combustible material, at high speeds, in close proximity to other people at similarly high speeds, sometimes in opposite directions, in real world imperfect weather conditions…..you get the idea. People will eventually die at the hands of one of your products.

    The outrage should be directed at anyone involved in a cover up, which I am not sure is something that has taken place. Indifference….perhaps. Intentionally setting people off in a car they knew would kill them so the company could save a few million dollars in recalls…perhaps, but perhaps not. It seems to me that nobody had all the facts at the right time and the left hand didnt know what the right hand was doing until it was too late. If there is a cover up, then the appropriate heads should roll. Not necessarily the entire company.

    GM can and should be protected by its bankruptcy from liability pre 2009. That is the way bankrutpcy works, that is the way it has always worked and people since the inception of the US Bankruptcy code have been getting screwed over ever since. In my opinion, I dont think the vitriol that this issue has spawned for the company as a whole is at the appropriate volume. Tomorrow, it may be your car’s manufacturer under the microscope. I am sure each automaker is guilty of a number of safety transgressions over the years.

    Disclaimer: I do not, nor have I ever owned a GM vehicle, nor do I work in any way in the auto industry.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      I understand what you’re saying about BK law and being shielded from liability, but there are limitations. In individual bankruptcies, for example, you have to list each and every debt you wish to discharge under the bankruptcy. If you leave one out, or incur new debt, it’s not covered, and a general sort of “any and all liability arising out of anything, ever” clause shouldn’t be enough to absolve companies or individual actors from this. It isn’t as if they made a defective part and didn’t know it until now. It’s not as if they recognized the defect and acted to resolve the issue. They deliberately chose, upon reviewing the issue at hand, to do nothing, and then to update the dangerous part with another part *with the same number* to avoid acknowledging any issue with the original part. This is a series of acts, deliberately undertaken, to avoid paying the money required to correct the issue. And that’s criminal – which is something else individal bankruptcy doesn’t absolve, and again, the same standards should apply to corporations.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        GM may ultimately not prevail on absolving themselves from liability on this, but the idea that they would assert this as a defense is built right into their bankruptcy agreement (and therefore should surprise nobody), and the burden of proof will be on the plaintiffs.

      • 0 avatar

        > They deliberately chose, upon reviewing the issue at hand, to do nothing, and then to update the dangerous part with another part *with the same number* to avoid acknowledging any issue with the original part. This is a series of acts, deliberately undertaken, to avoid paying the money required to correct the issue.

        Those interested in actual law instead of mouthing off about it should look into how intentional torts work to see if the level of evidence which largely shows rampant incompetence and at worse negligence measures up.

        The quoted statement would be how the plaintiffs might argue their case, but legal eagle wannabes should be aware that there’s also the other side in an adversarial legal system.

        • 0 avatar
          smartascii

          I’m not a lawyer, and so that may, in your view, disqualify me from having an opinion on the matter. But intentional tort, so far as my Google-fu can determine, requires that the defendant be substantially certain that a particular action will bring about injury.

          Whether that happened here or not, my point is that although I’m sure your adversarial legal system will find a way to foist the injured parties off on the old GM, it shouldn’t be able to do that. And arguing that the law just works that way doesn’t make it right.

          • 0 avatar

            > And arguing that the law just works that way doesn’t make it right.

            The specifics of the law are the way it is in the case of BK because the alternative is the company goes out of bidness anyway and nobody get paid anything.

            Letting the employees move on is simply seen as the lesser evil.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    GM couldn’t make the connection that cars shutting themselves OFF in traffic could and would lead to death and serious injury? They shouldn’t be making cars.

    But BK law shouldn’t shield criminal liability. GM gambled and lost. They thought they could delay or avoid the recall until it didn’t matter anymore. Either they were going out of business, going down in flames or BK proceedings. They had to know the old GM was circling the drain. Common frikin’ sense. For every million they made, they lost almost two.

    I had a recall on my ’04 F-150 for pad that was left on (during assembly) on an inner panel of the bed. Could cause rust.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      If GM had been completely broken up and the bits and pieces sold off at bankruptcy, rather than what did happen, who would shoulder the burden of these alleged deaths then? With all players scattered to the four winds? Who would NHTSA contact for reams of old files?

      You cannot have it all ways, no matter how hard you wish. Bankruptcy is just that, and new GM expressly did not take on liability for previous errors, as Pch101 has made clear on numerous occasions.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The New GM obviously doesn’t want to assume liability for the old GM, but they did keep the same trademarks, Chevrolet, Buick, etc. The New GM wanted GM’s legacy, history, lineage, etc. All the good, but none of the bad. They should have changed the name, logos, everything, if they wanted a completely fresh start. Can’t have it both ways.

        But I can claim BK protection from creditors and whatnot, however I’d still have to answer for past crimes and children I’ve fathered.

        The New GM picked up where the old GM left off. The murderous crimes continued without missing a beat.

        • 0 avatar

          These types of comments have always been confusing. There are people here who’re providing a public service by explaining how reality works, and all they ever seem to get for their effort is someone throwing a fit back. Maybe it’s related to this parents spoiling kids problem I’m been hearing about.

          Teacher: hey billy, your answer is wrong. 2+2=4, not 22
          Billy: NO! 2 and 2 is 22!
          Teacher: that’s not how it works dummy
          Billy: IMMA MAD!
          Parent: Don’t you call my kid dumb. You tell ‘em billy, you tell those gubmint statists them leftist answers are bunk.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          If you make reorganization too costly, then there won’t be any reorganizations.

          If GM had turned into a straight liquidation, then the economy would have been far worse off than it was, the Melton estate would have had no one to sue, and there would be many cars to be repaired but with no one to provide a fix or pick up the tab.

          Some of you need to start connecting the dots. Extend your ideas to their most logical conclusion, and see whether they take you to some place worse.

          And there isn’t enough here for a criminal prosecution, so you may as well just let that go.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            We’re not talking actual prosecution, just fines levied. That doesn’t mean there weren’t crimes committed. Like manslaughter.

            If there’s documents proving I’m fully aware of my commercial truck’s bad brakes that I refused to repair, before plowing into a group of kids waiting at a bus stop, killing 13, do you think I’ll just get fined? No, I can’t spread the blame around to 80 managers.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The Obama-era NHTSA is fond of levying seven- and eight-figure fines in order to send a message. (In this respect, this president is very different from his predecessors.) It would be surprising if there weren’t substantial fines in this case.

            There is no crime here. (You’re watching too many TV shows, apparently.) The whole situation may reek of ineptitude and it may not be very nice. But it doesn’t confom with the legal definition of homicide, no matter what some agitated posters on the internet may be inclined to believe.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Good to hear. This whole witch hunt is a complete knee-jerk reaction. Parking the cars is even more absurd

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      Calling it a “witch hunt” is going a bit far. While plenty of auto defects cause a sudden loss of power (you see fuel pump and ignition system recalls all the time for this sort of thing), shutting off power to the airbags instantly when turning the key to “off” was pretty boneheaded.

      If the fuel pump fails, you soon won’t have brakes, steering, or power (obviously), but at least the airbags will function when you crash into something. Failsafeing the airbag module against ignition switch failure would not have been difficult.

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    If you own one of these GM products and you’re really worried about it shutting off inadvertently, just take the ignition key off of your keychain, and use it without anything dangling from it. End of problem. You’re welcome.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Bingo. A little personal responsibility goes a long way.

      The cars are completely safe

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “…just take the ignition key off of your keychain… You’re welcome.”

      Knowledge is the key ingredient. Once you know what kills the engine, you can restart it, in as fast as a second. Drivers are puzzled why it stalled while trying to get it to a safe stop.

      And as you say, use the bare key.

      But since it was a secret defect with a secret fix, GM kept the killings going strong.

      • 0 avatar
        Z71_Silvy

        “But since it was a secret defect with a secret fix, GM kept the killings going strong.”

        Wow…really?

        The sad part is that you’re serious and actually believe that.

        13 deaths out of 3,000,000+n vehicles sold. There isn’t a defect or anything other than a massive, unwarranted witch hunt.

        But keep up the hyperbole…it’s entertaining

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Fck that. 13 easily avoidable deaths is still outrageous and manslaughter, plain and simple. I don’t give a Fck it’s out of a BILLION cars. But it’s that exact cavalier attitude that courts award punitive damages.

          • 0 avatar

            > I don’t give a Fck it’s out of a BILLION cars. But it’s that exact cavalier attitude that courts award punitive damages.

            Not sure what’s worse here, poor understanding of mathematical risk or the logic that two unrelated errors make a right.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @u mad? – You’re not even making sense at this point. Funny you appeared here about the time this whole GM fiasco/snafu hit the media, apologizing for GM and attacking bloggers that speak out against GM’s criminal, murderous actions and inactions. Did GM pull you off your mop squeezer detail and hand you a laptop?

          • 0 avatar

            > Did GM pull you off your mop squeezer detail and hand you a laptop?

            It’s worth thinking these retorts through before posting; if I’m only fit for mop duty at GM, what does that make you?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            >>if I’m only fit for mop duty at GM, what does that make you?<<

            It's unclear what you're qualified for. But you can't possibly be as good at anything, including squeezing mop, as you are at talking $h!t on the interwebs and apologizing for GM. If you're not drawing a paycheck from GM, you're even more stup!d than I thought you were.

            So when would you have time to work anyways? You're here 24/7. Never mind other sites.

          • 0 avatar

            > It’s unclear what you’re qualified for.

            Let’s just stop here. Many things about the world are unclear to those evidently unqualified to grasp simple definition of constitutes manslaughter or murder, or even ratios.

            Further quantifying what else they’re unqualified to judge is a moot point.

          • 0 avatar

            Also, I recollect correcting PCH101 on the math of recalls, namely that manufacturing more of a same part doesn’t make it magically more prone to fault.

            In hindsight this technical understanding may be the wrong way to go about it since there’s evident “magic” in folks who can’t figure ratios, who we can’t necessarily preclude from positions which make decisions based on math incompetence.

            ie. 1 fault in 1mil cars is “just as bad” as 1 fault in 1 car.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s probably best if you avoid trying to “correct” points that you didn’t understand.

          • 0 avatar

            > It’s probably best if you avoid trying to “correct” points that you didn’t understand.

            Speaking of which it’s worth pointing out it means that you were rather prescient to illuminate the human factors rather than just simple math involved. I was speaking of DenverMike, and I’d strongly recommended against adding yourself.

  • avatar
    grayj252

    It seems to me the problem is buying from Government Motors. If that ends, so does the problem.

    BTW, my wife and I own a 2012 Acura TL, a 2014 Honda CR-V and a 2009 Nissan Frontier.

    We haven’t had a mechanical problem in a very long time.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    That Fortune Magazine editor’s belief is pure fantasy. Assigning blame to the actual people who were responsible is so ‘out there’, it’s almost un-American!

    • 0 avatar

      > Assigning blame to the actual people who were responsible is so ‘out there’, it’s almost un-American!

      This is also however also a common misunderstanding of the problem. As humans we have a predisposition to anthropomorphize everything, incl. “fault”, when the blame here lies more with a mixture of personal error (eg. the engineer in question doing a shoddy job) and a systemic culture of complacency which is non-trivial to fix.

      Placing someone as the “responsible” party is just a way to easily placate the pitchfork mob when things go wrong, but so is blaming everything so nothing in particular needs to be fixed should the better option be unavailable.

      To be clear, none of this social diffusion has anything do with understanding what went wrong. In this case there seemed to be 3 main points:

      1. The guy who didn’t care his design tested out of bounds
      2. When others on the design side found the problem they didn’t check nor calculate the safety-induced costs.
      3. The safety folks only did the minimal due diligence to adhere to NHTSA reg

      Note the difference between these and what the public charade is about.


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