New GM Running From 3400 Old GM Safety Claims Per Year

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

I’m busy chasing the story about Comcast’s decision to pull the ad from the Ad Hoc Committee of Consumer Victims of GM and Chrysler re: the automakers’ attempts to walk away from safety-related claims against their “old” incarnations. I’ve got calls into the left coast lawyers who have first-hand knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the self-imposed censorship. Meanwhile, Sean Kane, the president of advocacy group Safety Research and Strategies (SRS), says the ad was pulled after a call from GM’s lawyers to Comcast. He also shared this pdf: Public Safety at Risk. “If GM is allowed to assign liability for its pre-New GM vehicles to old GM, it will remove the incentive for claimants to file,” Kane contends. “It would remove an important surveillance device for the NHTSA.”

“If this stands, Chrysler and now GM are trying to create two tiers of safety; one for consumers who bought a car before they exited Chapter 11, one for consumers who bought one afterwards.” In fact, Kane recommends that car buyers hold off on buying any GM product until this issue is resolved. “How can you buy a product from a company that’s not going to stand behind its products fully?”

As regular readers know, TTAC contributor and bankruptcy lawyer Steve Jakubowsky is hard at work, representing claimants who want New GM to be liable for products manufactured by Old GM. “Chrysler won the first battle,” Jakubowsky told me this morning. “But this time we’re better organized and more articulate.”

Look for this issue to gain traction. Stiffed GM bondholders will not—can not—gain public sympathy. As sad as this sounds, victims of defective automobiles are honey to the media bee. The story writes itself.

In fact, you have to wonder why New GM doesn’t just take the hit—remembering that this is NOT about admitting liability, only the victims’ right to potential restitution from New GM. Also keeping in mind the fact that GM will soon be owned by the federal government.

“What could it cost them?” Jakubowsky asks. “A billion?” So is New GM just Old GM redux? Roger that. “It just shows that the same old spreadsheet mentality is alive and well at the top of GM.”

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • JeremyR JeremyR on Jun 26, 2009

    Bunter: Those owners who financed purchases of GM cars are making payments to the institutions underwriting the loans, not to GM.

  • Campisi Campisi on Jun 27, 2009

    It was my understanding that old liabilities are one of the things a company in chapter eleven bankruptcy was able to shed. If such is the case, then your beef is with bankruptcy law, not GM itself.

  • Tassos Jong-iL The Peninsula of One Korea.
  • Eric No, I just share my opinions. I have no use nor time for rhetoric from any side.
  • Redapple2 Jeez. This is simple. I 75 and 696 area. 1 nobody -NOBODY wants to work in downtown Detritus. 2 close to the tech ctr. Design and Engineering HQ. 20 miles closer to Milford.3 lower taxes for the employees. Lower taxes for Evil GM Vampire.4 2 major expressways give users more options to suburbs. Faster transport.Jeez.
  • Clark The Ring (Nürburgring) is the only race track I've driven on. That was 1985 or 1986 with my '73 Fiat Spider (and my not-so-happy girlfriend). So I made the Karussell (today: Caracciola Karussell, which I believe the author meant; there is another one: Kleines Karussell).
  • AZFelix This article takes me back to racing electric slot cars with friends on tracks laid out in the basement. Periodically your car would stop due to lost connections or from flying off the track and you would have to dash over to it and set it right. In the mean time your competitor would race ahead until faced with a similar problem. It seemed like you were struggling harder to keep from losing than trying to win. Fun times.“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” Mark Twain