GM Offers Cash Allowance, NHTSA Cites Lack Of Sufficient Data Amid Recall Fallout

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
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gm offers cash allowance nhtsa cites lack of sufficient data amid recall fallout

1.37 million owners in the United States affected by the ignition switch recall issued by General Motors last month will be offered $500 toward the purchase or lease of a new vehicle just as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cites a lack of sufficient data as the reason said recall wasn’t issued sooner.

Automotive News and Bloomberg report the cash allowance offer will apply to 2013 through 2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models, with the following explanation issued to dealers in a notice delivered March 4:

GM will not market or solicit owners using this allowance. We ask that you not market to or solicit these customers either. This allowance is not a sales tool; it is to be used to help customers in need of assistance.

For owners opting to have their affected vehicles repaired, a free loaner will be made available for the duration of the repair, as well as free towing to the dealership if so requested. Said repair work is scheduled to begin early next month.

Meanwhile, NHTSA acting administrator David Friedman explained that a lack of sufficient data regarding the ignition switch behind the recall prevented his organization from forcing such a recall out of GM sooner than last month:

If we had that information, if GM had provided us with timely information, we would have been able to take a different course with this. We took several efforts to look into this data.

At the end of the day, with the data we had at that time, we didn’t think that was sufficient to open up a formal investigation.

The NHTSA is facing criticism over their lack of action as of late from both Congress — who are launching their own investigation over the recall — and former employees, such as former administrator Joan Claybrook. Claybrook asked the Transportation Department’s inspector general to look into why “no one [was] evaluating why NHTSA failed to carry out the law” in regards to the issue, which had been known in some capacity to the organization since 2006 when investigators were sent to document a high-speed fatal crash in Wisconsin involving a Chevrolet Cobalt and two women resulting from the switch cutting off engine power while preventing air-bag deployment.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • U mad scientist U mad scientist on Mar 14, 2014

    The trivialization of accident investigations is pretty ridiculous. Consider how much effort it takes very professional teams of investigators to determine the cause(s) of air incidents, which have generally superior communication/instrumentation. It's true the NHTSA and manufacturers have some rivalry of interest, but regulatory working relationships esp. in large companies outside of the usual politics tend to be more mundane and collaborative than many assume it to be.

    • See 4 previous
    • U mad scientist U mad scientist on Mar 14, 2014

      @carquestions > A better analogy would be that people were reporting bear attacks, video taping them and asking for an official to help then 5 years later the official shows up and wants to know whats’ going on and how can they help. Exactly, bear attacks are real. Better stock up on that bear-repellent. > Case in point the Jeep Grand Cherokee fuel tank fires – NHTSA and Chrysler were well aware of the problem before 2009 according to Mr. Ditlow yet not much happened until late 2013. Why the wait? it either has a safety defect or it does not. Wait, so you don't have a lifetime supply already because it may be a statistically negligible safety concern which warrants further investigation? That's rather the point of the opening post: The key part of regulatory process is paperwork (ie documentation) of reasonable good faith. There's a path to walk between sluggish and knee jerk (the same clueless people hate on either just to hate on something), and the investigative paper trail is what determines proper regulatory action. So unless the math shows improper conduct it's just pointless whinging.

  • Mcs Mcs on Mar 14, 2014

    This mess could possibly reopen the bankruptcy. The theory is that since GM failed to disclose the ignition fault and the potential for litigation, they fraudulently negotiated the restructuring agreement. Combine that with criminal charges against managers and subsequent trials - it's not looking good for GM.

    • See 1 previous
    • Pch101 Pch101 on Mar 14, 2014

      All of that is a stretch. Liabilities for pre-bankruptcy crashes go to Motors Liquidation. And driver negligence in post-bankruptcy crashes remains a mitigating factor in a lot of these individual cases.

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  • Drew8MR Interior is trivial now you can get repro everything in various levels of quality. Getting the top sorted will be a couple grand, but I'd drive it as it. I drove a $1500 67 GTO convertible for 20 years, not every old car needs to be like new.
  • John Not everyone pays that much for power. Mine is 10 cents per kw…..
  • TheEndlessEnigma I didn't need another reason to stay away from NYC, and yet I was handed another reason.