By on May 29, 2014

Dan Akerson

Automotive News reports former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson proclaimed in an interview with Forbes magazine that current CEO Mary Barra had no knowledge of the out-of-spec ignition switch that led to the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million vehicles, going as far as to bet his own life on the statement. Barra added the fallout from the recall is a chance for GM to not only “do the right thing and serve the customer well through” the crisis, but “to accelerate cultural change” within the company. Akerson passed the torch to Barra in December 2013 to take time to care for his ailing wife, and has since rejoined Carlyle Group as vice chairman on its board of directors.

Within the company, Detroit Free Press reports morale is up despite the numerous recalls levied upon the automaker, according to global product boss Mark Reuss. He states the results of an internal survey among GM’s global employees are higher than those found in 2012, citing a renewed focus on corporate transparency since the recall crisis began. Finally, Reuss told reporters at an event focused upon this weekend’s Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix that the C8 Corvette is now being developed, and did not rule out the possibility for electric and/or hybrid power for the upcoming sports car.

Speaking of GM’s recall parade, Ward’s Auto says the automaker released a document of its recall activities thus far in 2014, which is available to interested parties through a special site set up by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The document focuses on recalls in the United States and North America through Q1 and Q2 2014, with the current totals as of May 21, 2014 standing at 13.8 million in the U.S. and 15.8 in North America.

In compact car news, Automotive News reports GM India will begin exporting compact and subcompact vehicles during the second half of 2014 to help better use capacity of the Talegaon plant as the local market slows down. LHD variants of the Chevrolet Beat — Spark in the U.S. — will be the first to see a trip to the docks, destined to arrive in Chile Q1 2015, a reflection of the boosted confidence in quality at the plant, according to president Arvind Saxena. GM’s utilization rate is the lowest among all automakers in India at 28 percent, contributing to an overall local industry total of 55 percent production capacity used in 2013; the automaker’s two factories produce a combined capacity of 282,000 annually.

Finally, CarNewsChina has new spy shots of the upcoming Chevrolet Aveo hatchback set to enter the market July 10. The automaker’s best-selling compact will retain the 1.4- and 1.6-liter engines of the outgoing models, with five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions available to deliver between 103 and 121 horsepower to the front wheels. The hatch will follow the redesigned sedan, the latter due next month.

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22 Comments on “Akerson: Barra Did Not Know About Ignition Defect Before Becoming CEO...”

  • avatar

    For a $1 or so they could have fixed it. Many people lost there lives for a few dollars worth of fix.

  • avatar

    And this, kids, is how you put a scapegoat on the pastures while lying through your teeth:

    Dan Akerson proclaimed that current CEO Mary Barra had no knowledge of the out-of-spec ignition switch

    Akerson passed the torch to Barra in December 2013 to take time to care for his ailing wife.

    Akerson has since rejoined Carlyle Group as vice chairman on its board of directors.

  • avatar

    The real question is, did Dan Akerson or anyone else in charge know about this issue before they left?

  • avatar

    Ignorance is not a defense. But until we start hitting these CEOs with the Death Penalty, expect more of the same. Prison time in the very least. OK, jail time at Camp Snoopy. Weekend at Bernie’s 3???

    But seriously, if there wasn’t a dispersion of responsibility, say a sole proprietorship, someone would have to serve some serious time.

  • avatar

    So “Lt. Dan” Akerson confirms that GM’s current CEO is a dupe with plausible deniability, walks away from that smoldering wreck with multiple millions and rejoins Carlyle Group. Nice. Even better, his capitalist tool buddies at Forbes don’t even bother to press Akerson about whether or when he knew about the defect data. But then, that would be journalism, wouldn’t it?

  • avatar

    Akerson: Barra Did Not Know About Ignition Defect Before Becoming CEO… because I forgot to tell her about it. My bad.

  • avatar

    Bit late to be saying this, eh Dan?

    • 0 avatar

      His lawyers and PR people have spent the last three months figuring out exactly what to say. On top of all the other meshugas, the man has a propensity for putting his foot in it.

      • 0 avatar

        Because we all know that no fatal defects have ever occurred in other vehicles.

        Nonetheless by headline space it would seem that a hugenumber of related (not necessarily caused by) fatalities have occurred, yet if these were removed, our highway statistics would be indistinguishably different.

        Collisions with animals kill far more. Bee stings kill far more.

        BTW people who drive beaters already know what engine cutout feels like.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Every time I start thinking maybe it’s time to look at domestic cars again, after two decades avoiding them, a fiasco like the GM ignition switch issue surfaces to remind me why I started avoiding them in the first place.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    “..“to accelerate cultural change” within the company…”


    One method that has the highest chance of doing that is bankrupsy.

    One method that has little chance of doing that is selling out your stock and bond holders, screwing existing warrenty holders, and giving that cr*ppy company to unions and liberal crony capitalists. Followed by withholding bad news until the corrupt gubmit sells their interest – albeit at a loss.

  • avatar

    the public face of private deception…er I mean private capital..Carliel Group.

  • avatar

    I can’t figure out why their stock has been going up lately. I guess to most people the ignition debacle is old hat.

  • avatar

    How is that statement even relevant?

    She got paid as a CEO, she should be hold accountable as CEO. You are not paid for doing nothing.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    GM, it’s a bad move to make an obvious lie.

    This shows your company has a total lack of sincerity, integrity and promotes this culture from the top down.

    Maybe it’s time you are sold off.

    Institutionalisation, like corrosion it will rot any organisation.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    It would have been better if Akerson said nothing. Whether what he said is true or not the public is skeptical. I have owned mostly GM products over 40 years and have been relatively satisfied with them but there have been so many cover ups by GM on this and other issues that it puts me off to their products. A defective part can happen on any product but to let it go and not do anything is the issue. We will see what GM does go forward.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I can envision Diceman taking a drag off his cigarette, smirking, and saying “Yeah….sure”.

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