By on June 16, 2014

GM Next

In its criminal investigation into General Motors, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharra’s office are summoning current and former employees to come to New York for interviews regarding the automaker’s actions over the ignition switch behind the February 2014 product recall of 2.6 million vehicles.

The Wall Street Journal reports the federal prosecutor’s office is seeking out those who were named in the Valukas Report for the voluntary interviews, including the 15 who were cast out of GM following the report’s release earlier this month. The report itself is being lauded by prosecutors on the state and federal levels for its depth and detail, though some caution may come from the report’s clearing of current CEO Mary Barra and her senior executives of any wrongdoing in relation to the decade-plus delay of the part’s recall.

That said, those who don’t voluntarily comply with the request may find themselves subpoenaed before a grand jury later on, and without a lawyer at their side as they testify under oath. However, those who do make the trip to Manhattan will likely receive favorable treatment from prosecutors during their interviews, including limited immunity deals in exchange for all they know.

The investigation is among the few that are ongoing between federal and state officials, including those of the attorneys general in 11 states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada and New York. All investigations are in the early phase, and prosecutors are keeping their cards close to the vest from the defense for the time being.

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8 Comments on “Federal Prosecutors Summon GM Employees For Recall Interviews...”

  • avatar

    Another witch hunt for the cameras.

  • avatar

    This cannot just rest with the lower level engineers. Design changes drive PPAP’s. Which involve tooling, purchasing, DV and PV testing and numerous documentation that goes up via service and manufacturing arms of the OEM.

    All of this requires rubber stamp approvals by management. To change something that requires a PPAP and not bump the part number is criminal. Suppliers don’t just retool for free and without documentation unless they are making parts out of a barn or a garage.

    • 0 avatar

      You last paragraph describes how it is supposed to work. Having worked in manufacturing for over 18 years (including a GM parts division, a heavy truck mfgr, and two parts suppliers), I have seen too much to know that the procedure is not always followed.

      Here’s my take: engineers at the lower levels (at both GM and Delphi) knew that the original switch didn’t meet the minimum torque requirements, but didn’t/couldn’t do anything about it due to the intense pressure to meet production deadlines (to redesign and requalify the switch, and to make the hard tooling for the redesigned parts, we’re talking about, what, at least 6 months? Maybe three at best.).

      Then, at a later point when other changes were being made to the ignition system, the GM engineer saw the opportunity to sneak in the fix for the torque problem as a running change (as an experienced engineer at a mfg. company, one learns when the windows of opportunity are open in order to make design changes). How is this justified? Playing devil’s advocate, one could say that the improved switch meets the same form, fit, and function of the original part, with the obvious rub being how one defines the term ‘function.’

      I’ve personally had to track down a few component malfunctions that were due to the supplier making a change that they felt was so insignificant that they didn’t feel the need to notify their customers, grrrr.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, but Delphi did this on blind faith they would get paid.

        Even running changes require the same style of approvals. What happened was the part # did bump (at least from what I understand). Which means that it never went through a Design Change or any other Program working meeting to approve the said change.

  • avatar

    If I were in the position of any of these people being “summoned”, I wouldn’t pay a cent to travel to New York, away from my records – didn’t George III do that to the colonists? I’m pretty sure that’s listed in the Declaration of Independence as one of his abuses.

    I’d also insist on making a deposition in a court where ALL parties are under oath, with a court recorder keeping track of all questions and answers, as a public record, and I’d have my lawyer with me. We’ve seen far too much misconduct by federal agencies (FBI, IRS, VA, ATF) to give them any benefit of the doubt.

  • avatar

    Calling APaGttH. They recalled the W and G bodies, though strangely some of the G and Ws are missing. I guess there was no Park Avenue between 2000 and 2005 and no Grand Prix from 2004 to 2008 was there? Wait maybe they had magic ignition switches which worked?

    “The vehicles covered include the Buick Lacrosse, model years 2005-9; Chevrolet Impala, 2006-14; Cadillac Deville, 2000-05; Cadillac DTS, 2004-11; Buick Lucerne, 2006-11; Buick Regal LS and RS, 2004-5; and Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2006-8.”

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