NHTSA Drops $35M Hammer On GM Over Delayed Recall
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has spoken: General Motors will pay the maximum fine of $35 million for its decade-plus delay of the recall of 2.6 million vehicles affected by an out-of-spec ignition switch linked to over 30 accidents and 13 fatalities.
Automotive News reports that in GM’s consent decree with the NHTSA, it admitted to breaking federal law with its handling of the recall process over the part, and will give federal regulators full access to findings from its internal investigations over the matter.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx proclaimed today’s announcement “puts all manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable if they fail to quickly report and address safety-related defects.” GM CEO Mary Barra added in a separate statement that her company has learned several lessons from the recall, lessons which will be applied toward its goal of “becoming an industry leader in safety.”
Additionally, GM must notify the NHTSA whenever it makes any change to its production schedule for replacement ignition switches, and to put forth a full effort to bring in the biggest number of affected consumers to its dealership network, including outreach through the Internet and to non-English speakers.
Finally, GM will also submit to periodic reviews with the agency in the latter’s monitoring of both the recall and other actions.
So a little less than $14 per car. What a joke.
Any word yet on why GM stopped using the 2004-and-earlier switch that apparently was trouble-free?
As someone who has personally seen how a major automaker treats their customers badly and ignores or does not handle a potentially dangerous situation correctly, I think the fines should be $350 million. Better yet, do like China and arrest or execute the people in charge, bet these issues would drastically drop. I really feel disgusted that I went to bat for GM during the bailout and argued for their survival, they should have been left to die like they deserved.
GM is avoiding personal lawsuits by claiming it's "old" GM's problem, why didn't they claim the same thing with the NHTSA? I suspect this consent decree was privately negotiated, with GM using it to put the issue behind it at minimal cost, while the "government" distances itself from the term "government motors". It's a win-win deal.