By on June 27, 2014

Mary Barra at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

In today’s General Motors digest: The automaker rescinds its stop-sale of 33,000 Chevrolet Cruzes over Takata air bag issues, recalls 29,019; Delphi turns over documents to a federal grand jury; Kenneth Feinberg’s compensation plan will be revealed Monday; and CEO Mary Barra says more recalls may be coming, but no more people will be fired as a result of the Valukas report.

Automotive News reports GM lifted its stop-sale order of 33,000 2013 – 2014 Chevrolet Cruzes due to a defective airbag inflator found in units provided by supplier Takata once the automaker accounted for all the affected vehicles by comparing VINs to the parts list. Detroit Free Press adds GM then recalled the affected units, totaling 29,019, all of them still under its new vehicle warranty. The defect, if not treated, could result in the inflator — and the airbag unit overall — catastrophically exploding or non-deployment of the airbag in an accident.

Speaking of suppliers, The Detroit News says Delphi delivered hundreds of documents related to its part of the February 2014 ignition switch recall to the U.S. Justice Department via grand jury subpoena. The supplier also sought confidential treatment in turning over the requested documents. Meanwhile, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee made public 80 emails and other documents by the automaker and the supplier illustrating GM’s struggles with the ignition switch, painting “a disturbing and devastating picture, a beyond-worst-case systemic breakdown that led to lives needlessly lost,” according to U.S. Representatives Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania and Fred Upton of Michigan.

Automotive News reports Kenneth Feinberg, the victim-compensation expert hired by GM to compensate victims of the defective ignition switch, will announce his plan Monday at 10 a.m. in Washington, D.C. Though no dollar amount will likely be pegged in the announcement, the terms of the plan could sway victims into accepting compensation over filing a lawsuit against GM. The automaker did not provide its own estimate, as well.

Finally, Reuters reports CEO Mary Barra said during an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s “The Today Show” that more recalls could come down the pike, based on data received. She also commented on the Feinberg plan, stating her company wants “every single person who either lost a loved one or has a serious physical injury to be a part of that program.” Detroit Free Press adds that when Lauer asked if there would be more firings linked to the ignition switch, Barra proclaimed everyone who would be let go has been let go. She emphasized that the “silos of information” that obfuscated the issue were being torn down, with employees taking notes during safety meetings that are then presented to her for review.

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72 Comments on “General Motors Digest: June 27, 2014...”


  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The thing that amazes and confuses me beyond my brain’s ability to comprehend, is that there are still new-car shoppers at the Chevrolet dealership down the street.

    A person would have to be a complete dullard to avoid or ignore the media coverage of this collapse and even bother to test drive a Chevrolet.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I’d hit it.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    It’s whack-a-mole for female execs.

    Break through the glass ceiling and get hammered by the ineptitude/criminality of your company’s past.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Not that I am in the market for a Chevy, but none of this would deter me in the slightest if I was interested in one. They have admitted the issue, and they are fixing the cars. The cars are decent value, reasonably reliable, and at most this issue was an edge case. A couple dozen people died in how many millions of passenger miles? And realistically, how many of those would have died regardless of the ignition switch issue? Are they any worse than the competition? I just can’t get excited about any of this. It’s Pinto gas tanks 2.0.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Yep, this. I’d buy a Chevy today without a second thought if it were the right car. I might still buy a 2015 SS if the price is right.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Well, the Chevy SS is a “real” car so have at it… but would you be as enthusiastic at buying one of the many Daeworolets or the Epilson II Impala for too much money?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The Epsilon II Impala is a great FWD large sedan, for those who are into that sort of thing. And you can get them pretty cheap. Unfortunately, the FWD sedan that’s sized more to my taste — the Malibu — is uncompetitive with several other cars in the class.

          But the Cruze and Sonic are worth driving for shoppers in their class as well. The only “Daewoolet” I wouldn’t at least recommend to a buyer in their classes for a test drive is a Spark.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Personally I would have went all in with Cruze offering a coupe, wagon, and sedan derivatives, and kept Epsilon I Malibu as-is or with a refresh until at least 2015. I would not have even offered anything less than the Cruze as Cruze and Sonic answer the same basic question and Spark tarnishes the brand, IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          I propose “Chevwoo”.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “A couple dozen people died in how many millions of passenger miles? And realistically, how many of those would have died regardless…”

      It’s this total disregard for the life of people we don’t know and have never met that makes this so repulsive and disgusting.

      They’re probably pro-lifers to the bitter end too. So wtf is it???

      Ford, with the Pinto, is no angel either. Inexcusable, but haven’t we evolved/learned/moved forward?

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      They admitted the issue kicking and screaming after the failed to cover it up.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Not covered in this summary is a story in today’s WaPo based on some of these released emails that purportedly show: (1) detailed knowledge of the problem higher up in the chain of command than the company acknowledges and (2) that the engineer who was fired and has been made the scapegoat for this mistake actually argued hard for a recall and also insisted that the supplier of the revised key cylinders use a new part number, so it could be differentiated from the old, defective version.

    So, it appears that the fish are still rotting and the smell is getting a little stronger.

    The criminal probe by the grand jury attains a higher level of significance.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      While the grand jury is sitting, former GM engineer DiGiorgio should be discussed. This guy single-handedly created this debacle. If they can’t get him for criminal negligence, try perjury. I do not believe that after going through so much trouble with the design that he began calling it “the switch from hell”, that he later on had absolutely no recollection of approving the subsequent change. This omission had GM chasing its tail for years. My impression is of someone lying through his teeth in a deposition.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Matt Lauer: Jerk for acting like he’s never met a mother with a job before, or incompetent gasbag for not asking any substantive questions of the CEO of one of the worst companies in the US?

  • avatar
    Rday

    Amazes me that anyone is really considering a GM product…but maybe the idiots really are in charge after all.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Could we possibly get a 24 hour GM Recall news channel?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Very flattering picture of Ms. Barra. That’s all…

  • avatar
    319583076

    I gather by your comment and use of “Ms” that you don’t approve of the photo…the implication is that she looks unattractive and that implies suspicious motives of the photographer and the editor that chose to run the photo, correct?

    Have you ever bothered to comment about Mr. Akerson’s appearance? Or any other male executive for that matter?

    I get the impression that you’re judging others for implied sexism although I would argue that taking offense to the depicted attractiveness or unattractiveness of GM’s current CEO is a definitively sexist position in itself.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You’re way overthinking this. I wasn’t being sarcastic. I was engaging in pure sexist objectification.

      I’ve never commented on a male executive’s appearance because I don’t really care, being a straight man. But I wouldn’t be surprised or offended if a straight woman or a gay man did so.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        dal20402– No one is over thinking anything. Have you forgotten the Booth Babe series? That was the one where one of our male editors decided to play muthacluckin’ Tootsie up in here. Turnabout is not fair play. We are only allowed to objectify women.

        Back when the VW shill was running the place and it was daily Asian girl knot porn– I objected by sexualizing images of males– including Mr. Ed– the comments were mostly removed, while some were edited into oblivion. They were simple opinions about bulges, about being able to tell certain men wear boxers, whether or not they hung to the left or the right– nothing personal.

        Nothing graphic…

        There’s no legitimate reason to sexualize anything around here.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “Have you ever bothered to comment about Mr. Akerson’s appearance? Or any other male executive for that matter?”

      I have! I have! =:-D

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    In 200 years from now GM will be looked upon as the great US experiment that failed.

    It appears at almost every level from the shop floor (UAW) to the highest level at GM it was plagued by a system of incompetence.

    As the dozen or so engineers found out the other day, you will take it up the ass to protect the current crop of incompetence at GM.

    The company is doomed to be sold. The big GM toilet needs to be flushed to removed the crap at the company.

    It’s odd that DocOlds a supposed ‘ex’ GM man isn’t around.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @BAFO…Why would any of us “ex” GM people bother to comment?

    I have read every comment. Lets see “anybody buying GM is an idiot” GM should just die” or” a person would have to be a complete dullard”

    Seriously? JB writes an entertaining piece, ripping apart a 31 year Impala. Yesterday we have to read all about the Challenger? The question was, is it as good as the Mustang? The Camaro is the sales leader but it just a POS?

    Anybody with a positive opinion on anything GM is setting himself up for ridicule.

    You question why|” Dr Olds ” doesn’t comment anymore?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @mickey
      Because it’s you ex-GM workers that destroyed GM.

      • 0 avatar
        Hillman

        @BAFO, I would put Mickey in the top 5 commenters range. Also, I remember back in the day there was a zero tolerance for flaming others. In some way I missed that policy.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @Hillman…Thanks.

          For the most part, I ignore the likes of BAFO,and a few others. Last night I was catching up at TTAC, and enjoying a few ,well earned beverages. Yesterday had been long and rough. BAFO’s uninformed, and cruel comment spun me the wrong way.

          @Jack and Derek..The 81 Impala road trip story was endlessly entertaining, in spite of the GM bashing.

          The Challenger review was also quite entertaining. In spite of the Camaro bash.

          Entertainment is why I come here.

          Note to self ” After two beers do not comment”

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @BAFO Mikey was a line worker. From my brief time observing GMAD in the early eighties, those guys are the last ones to blame. It’s all about management.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          I’ve read,” A Savage Factory” Robert Dewar Junior written by a first line supervisor at Ford. I think it might of been “Geeber” from the TTAC B&B that recommended it to me. Excellent read.

          Of course” Rivethead “Ben Hamper is a must read for anybody that ever wondered how things actually roll on the factory floor.

          Each book is written from a different perspective. For 36 years I lived and breathed the life that both writers describe.

          A common theme runs through both books.

          The majority of UAW workers did their best to perform their assignment with the tools, and material supplied by management.

          Make no mistake. Management made the decisions, not the workers.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Dude, I’m not really a huge fan of GM (I’m a Ford man), but there is plenty of blame to go around for the state of GM and I think the line workers have a much smaller share than say the folks who greenlighted the Cimaron and the 350 diesel.

        And what is with your contempt of all things American? Did a sailor sleep with your girl on a liberty call in Sydney or something?

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      Yeah, TAC and Jalopnik commenters have really started to make my brain hurt. I think I might have to go back to autoblog. At least on their mobile site I can’t see the comment section.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I hadn’t stated that mikey is totally at fault for GM’s demise. I also believe that mikey does sometimes offer good and credible commentary on TTAC. I have yet to state otherwise.

    I have read may comments recognising the cultural aspect of GM’s current problems. Mikey and the UAW, management from the top to the bottom are all to blame.

    One person isn’t just responsible for GM’s position. I would say everyone at GM are at fault. Even the UAW line workers. They aren’t innocent. They could have voted down many of the greedy demands made by the UAW. GM management could of also told the UAW to get on their bikes.

    I see much of this in modern society. Everyone expecting another to make their life easier. Someone has to pay for excesses in the end.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Isn’t it time GM forget sedans and focus only on trucks and SUVs? They can keep the Corvette as well. They make great trucks but the sedans are out of the question.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Hmmmm…..with the current changes to CAFE affecting larger vehicles is that a wise idea?

      CUVs maybe. Pickups will becoming more expensive. This will affect all US manufacturers of larger vehicles.

      As FTA’s become prevalent this will also put pressure on the vehicle manufacturers in the US. This is great for the consumer as competition will increase.

      One problem in the US are company backed retirement plans, it’s a very social approach. These retirement plans don’t take into account the financial situation of a company years down the track.

      Maybe all future retirement plans should be managed by a private company. All GM has to do is put aside 5% and the employee 5% into a investment every pay check. Then the money is always there for the employee and not squandered by poor company management.

      I’m surprise the UAW didn’t want this to protect it’s workers. But who ever stated the UAW had good policy and direction.

      Then remove company health plans. GM has to remove all of the costs that the employee should be paying for.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        If it was CAFE that gave “large vehicle” mfg a kick in the A$$, it looks like it was for everyone’s benefit. By “large vehicles” you must mean fullsize pickups. And entry level only. Once you’re talking big luxury cars and luxury fullsize pickups/SUVs, they’re virtually untouchable by CAFE.

        The BMW M3 was slapped with the Gas Guzzler Tax ($1,800), but do you think buyers of these cared?

        And there’s more likely going to be lots more interest in fullsize pickups and fullsize SUVs, as they lighten up to “mid-size” weight, plus 10-speed transmissions.

        But there’s absolutely no reason to believe increased costs, like aluminum bodies, will be substantial or passed on to the consumer at all. Never mind increased sales potential, you’re already talking the most profitable vehicles in the world.

        And the American auto market is already the most competitive in the world, when you consider low, low pricing, rebates and OEMs already represented. But why would new FTAs force more competitiveness worth mentioning? If anything, it would substantially open up new markets for US OEMs, greatly offsetting any lost market share in North America.

        Retirement plans are helping bankrupt weak companies and governments though. This is no way to run a pyramid scheme.. Too many aren’t dying off as soon as hoped, despite GM turning serial killer…

        As a business owner, I’m getting hit with newly dreamed up fees and permits by my city, county and state. It’s getting ridiculous. The local fire department is now slamming/surcharging all home owners in “Fire Prone” areas for their protection.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Business owner??

          What a lemonade stand, competing against little kids, maybe.

          Even then I do believe the kids will do much better at business than you.

          Businessman. I very much doubt.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            Well his lemonade stand is probably doing better than the auto industry in your country. Can we get an ignore feature on here because you sir are a true A$$HAT!

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @mkirk
            So your telling me because DiM is such a poor business person he’s has a subsidised lemonade stand?

            The UAW must be involved in the lemonade business.

            Our auto industry is doing fine now that the deadwood has been removed.

            It’s been forecasted that the industry will grow by over 24 000 worker this year.

            There’s plenty more to the industry than vehicle assembly.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            Whatever man. You soon won’t be able to buy an Australian built vehicle. I guess your industry is thriving like that of Great Britain.

            And nobody gives a pinch of monkey $hit what you believe about the man’s business skills. You are a popmous prick.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        BAFO..”.Maybe all future retirement plans should be managed by a private company” GM matches employee contributions”

        Its called a “defined contribution plan” GM changed it all….Oh???? about seven years ago!

        If your going to shoot of a pile of s—t . Do some research!

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @mikey
          I wasn’t completely aware of that. Thanks for the info.

          I did “google” the pension plan. It appears to be a messy deal and very grey in it’s management.

          It surprises me that this didn’t occur 30-40 years ago. This would have been best practice.

          I just hope the pensions are more secure for the workers and the BoD of the management fund is managed well.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      They can make and have made great sedans. I would rather see the company build products it wants too rather than those it was forced too.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @28 Cars Later
        I think you are almost correct.

        I think you should have stated “I want to see the company build products that the consumer wants”. Without that they will go broke as someone else will.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Everyone else is already doing that to some degree. GM might as well build what it thinks it can sell, offering a genuinely different product might just do the trick.

          Profitability is another concern, DocOlds and others have pointed out in the past GM could never make money on small car and thus took losses on every one. This might still be the case. So if they can’t make money on a product, stop forcing them to build it. Compliance cars on a large scale drain profitability. There is only so much flexibility for them in their bureaucracy (and Ford/FCA theirs).

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @28 Car Later
            Regulations can be productive, like the ones forcing manufacturers to build even better vehicles.

            But when these regulations become anti competitive, then I do disagree.

            CAFE, chicken tax, corrupt energy policy all exist not to protect the small guy, but to protect the large corporations and unions.

            This is what’s wrong with GM (and many other organisations globally), they supported many of those regulations thinking it would protect them.

            GM built to regional or what they thought were regional tastes, whilst the Europeans and Japanese built true global vehicles.

            GM is so cumbersome between it’s won management, UAW, government involvement that they deserve to lose out and be sold to the highest bidder.

            That’s where Mikey is also responsible. I work for a very large and institutionalised organization. It can be awkward for change. The existing institutional structure was never modeled for change, GM is the same.

            I’m also to blame for the inability of my organisation to make the necessary changes.

  • avatar
    mikey

    BAFO…..I started installing speedo cables on the line in 1972. For 36+ years, I did every job that GM asked me to do. I did it to the best of my ability. I never took long term compensation, I showed up for work everyday. I did my job. And yes, I was well rewarded. I earned every nickel I was paid. And I paid taxes, lots of taxes!

    I walked out that gate on December 19 2008, with my pension, and I earned every penny of that to. And I’m still paying taxes.

    As far as I’m concerned, you can take your sanctimonious, I art holier than thou attitude, and comments, and stick them where the sun don’t shine.

    • 0 avatar

      On this Mikey, I stand by you. Nothing credible about that comment. In a huge corporation, doing the job you have to do, with the tools and training you’re given, is the only responsibility you have. Bad cars, bad designs, bad tooling is about as far removed from your competence as Pluto is from the sun. The union has nothing to do with this debacle either. Those that don’t get it won’t and ignore the most obvious and spiteful idiocy is the best.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Marcelo
        I suppose we agree to disagree.

        Everyone is responsible for the way we are.

        At work we have been in transition for a decade or so. Efficiency gains. It called quality management. First up responsibility was reduced from the lower levels at work and moved up to us at the lower levels of management and supervision. We were held accountable for deficiencies. A no blame culture arose.

        Now, it’s flowing back towards the tradesman on the floor, which I think is good. But we are doing the same job now with half the numbers.

        The problem is people like myself spending decades working for the same organization makes it awkward for the changes.

        GM is the same, decades of practices by everyone is the reason why GM is where it is.

        As is shown by the latest round of news articles GM’s position is a manifestation of multiple poor decisions and poor use of resources.

        Everyone from the rank and file to the highest levels within GM are to blame.

        You might not like to apportion accountability, but this is how it’s done.

        As I’ve show GM isn’t the only company struggling by all to change direction and achieve.

        Many here just look at he piles of metal and plastic without thinking about what brings it to them.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        While I don’t think any blame can be laid on the individual union member like Mikey, the “Union” as a whole certainly had a role in GM’s uncompetitive position. If your cost structure is such that labor is costing you $1500 more per car than your competitors, you can either eat it, make no profit and slowly go out of business, or you can skimp in other ways, like quality. GM managed to do both.

        Ultimately it IS management’s responsibility, and GM’s management has sucked for 50 years or more. They manage to make some decent cars inspite of themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Even with our corupt energy policy energy is actually quite affordable here so much so that we can afford those large trucks you loathe so much.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Poor BAFO. You must be immensely butt sore about a few things, although not our fault. Look elsewhere for that.

    But I’ll be the 1st one to tell you it doesn’t take much of anything special to be a business owner with some amounts of success. You don’t have to be a “rocket scientist” like you claim to be…

    I tell ‘new start-ups’ to forget the ‘numbers’ they’re so extremely focused on. Just do your absolute best to please the customer and the rest will fall into place.

    But I actually did start out with the lemonade stands, mowing lawns, building/selling BMX bikes, etc. I caught the bug early on, and I can’t see myself punching a time-clock and seeing my talents and hard work capitalized by someone else’s company so I can get a tiny percentage of that.

    If anything, it takes more ballz than brains to leave the corporate world and strike out on your own. Obviously you have neither.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @DiM
    You an ex-corporate manager??? Get real. Full size pickup market in Spain??

    Your comments that you live in a 10 square home and only lead a meager existence??

    Somehow much of what you put forward doesn’t meet this comment.

    I think the American dream is just that for you………..a dream.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAFO – I did say I live well within my means and own (outright) several bigger houses that I’ve renovated or in the process, as rentals. I donate at least 1000 hours a year to Habitat for Humanity alone. That’s building homes for the poor and donating time and excess materials at local ReStores. Plus food/blood drives, community pantry and more.

      I don’t consider myself successful, but very fortunate, yes. I’m very satisfied doing what I enjoy most, 7 days a week. I have a lot of help I get from my generous friends/family/neighbours, or none of this would be possible.


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