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.
The Detroit News reports General Motors CEO Mary Barra boarded a commercial flight from Detroit to Washington, D.C. Sunday in order to prepare for two separate hearings before Congress regarding her company’s handling of the ongoing 2014 recall crisis. While in the nation’s capital, she also met with 25 family members whose relatives were killed in crashes linked to the ignition switch behind the recall.
The latest development in the GM ignition recall fiasc
General Motors CEO Mary Barra and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acting director David Friedman will testify before the United States Senate on April 2 about their respective parties’ handling of the ongoing GM ignition recall crisis just as two senators introduced a bill expanding public access to safety filings made by all automakers to the federal government.
General Motors is facing two separate lawsuits related to failures of the ignition switch recalled last month, while also preparing to bring their case before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee next month, led by a representative who honed his skills upon Firestone.
Meanwhile, reports of a quiet swap between the defective ignition switch and an improved switch in 2006 – a swap that may have violated internal protocols -may have serious repercussions for GM and now-bankrupt supplier Delphi.
Finally, a test drive gone wrong results in a GMC Yukon left to burn, whose prompt investigation is only the beginning of a long learning process in how GM handles safety in the future.
General Motors has issued a new recall for 355 vehicles, while also facing a possible lawsuit by an investor over “immorality”. GM may also face a new probe involving the automaker’s bankruptcy and its relation to the original recall that thrust GM into the headlines, just as the agency responsible for investigating the problem at GM faces an audit from the Department of Transportation.
The years-long silence over a faulty ignition switch responsible for 13 deaths and a recall of 1.6 million vehicles made between 2003 and 2007 is about to take a greater toll on General Motors executives as federal investigations, lawsuits and penalties loom over the horizon.
Company founder Henrik Fisker and Fisker Automotive Inc.’s former directors have been sued in a Delaware court by an investor. Atlas Capital Management LP blames the defendants for over $2 million in losses it allegedly suffered when the now bankrupt hybrid car startup failed. According to the lawsuit filed Dec. 27 in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Fisker allegedly misled investors by failing to disclose problems the company knew it was having with a government loan and by keeping a 2011 safety recall secret from potential investors.
In the filing, Atlas said that if it had known the truth about the situation, it “would not have purchased or otherwise acquired its Fisker securities, or, if it had purchased such securities, it would not have done so at the artificially inflated prices which it paid.” (Read More…)
Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America have agreed to pay as much as $395 million to settle class action lawsuits filed after the Korean automakers overstated fuel economy ratings on about 900,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. Hyundai’s share will be as much as $210 million while Kia will have to pay up to $185 million, according to statements issued by the companies and reports by Automotive News. The settlements must still undergo court review, expected early next year.
The lawsuits were filed after the companies disclosed in November of 2012 that approximately 600,000 Hyundais and 300,000 Kias from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 model years were sold with EPA fuel economy ratings that weren’t accurate. (Read More…)
Tesla retail store in Columbus, Ohio
Car dealers trying to head off Tesla Motors’ attempts to set up factory-direct showrooms in Ohio lost a round last month when a dealership licensing amendment that would have blocked Tesla from selling vehicles direct to retail customers in the state wasn’t voted upon in the state legislature. Now the dealers are trying the litigation route, suing Tesla and state agencies to have Tesla’s retail license voided. The defendants are Tesla, the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The plaintiffs include Midwestern Auto Group in Dublin, Ohio, and Ricart Automotive Group, of Groveport, Ohio. (Read More…)
Delta Wing Project 56, a company backed by racing and pharmaceuticals entrepreneur Don Panoz to develop the DeltaWing racecar, is suing Nissan, claiming that the recently revealed BladeGlider concept, which Nissan revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show, infringes on intellectual property related to the DeltaWing.
Nissan says that their delta shaped car is inspried by “the soaring, silent, panoramic freedom of a glider and the triangular shape of a high-performance ‘swept wing’ aircraft.” One of the members of the BladeGlider project is designer Ben Bowlby, who originated the concept of the DeltaWing and he’s named as a defendant along with Nissan and Darren Cox, director of Nissan’s global motorsports program. (Read More…)
A Califonia jury ruled that Toyota Motor Corp was not at fault in a 2009 accident in which 66 year old Noriko Uno was killed when her 2006 Camry ran into a tree after being hit by another car. Uno’s survivors blamed the accident and her death on unintended acceleration and Toyota’s failure to incorporate a brake-override system in Uno’s car. This was the first wrongful death lawsuit over accusations that Toyota products could uncontrollably accelerate. The jury found that Uno’s Camry was not defective, instead placing full liability for her death on the driver of the car that hit Uno before she sped the wrong way down a one-way street and into the tree. Uno’s survivors were awarded $10 million.
Toyota won two out of four of his decisions, but U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled that Toyota still must go to trial for an unexpected-acceleration case filed in federal court, according to a report by Bloomberg.