By on June 4, 2014

Kenneth Feinberg

The Detroit News reports Kenneth Feinberg, whose services were retained by General Motors regarding compensation for victims of the out-of-spec ignition switch linked to 47 accidents and at least 13 fatalities, stated an announcement regarding compensation is “a few weeks away.” Feinberg adds that while his client may be making its own statement on the matter, “it will not include any details about a compensation plan since no such plan yet exists.” The attorney has worked on similar programs in the past, including those affected by the 2011 BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster, Agent Orange, asbestos and the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. in early September of 2001.

The Detroit Free Presswho has a comprehensive timeline of surrounding the issues that has placed GM under the spotlightcombed through an organization chart and other findings obtained from the Associated Press to illustrate how a small problem became the ongoing headache currently experienced by the automaker. Of note, until earlier this year, safety came in fourth to finance, sales and PR, reflecting CEO Mary Barra’s statement before Congress in April that GM’s corporate culture valued cost savings over the safety of its consumer base. The corporate structure could come under more fire once independent investigator Anton Valukas presents his findings to Barra this week, with a potential recommendation to tear down the “communication silos” so that future issues — and the ability to act upon them — are allowed faster access to the top.

Over in the Beltway, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is facing its own time under the spotlight for its part in handling the February 2014 GM ignition switch recall. Though consumer advocacy groups and the federal government have suggested ways to help the agency better do its job — from boosting its maximum fine to $300 million from $35 million, to increasing manpower and oversight over the automotive industry — the main sticking point is the NHTSA’s reliance on self-reporting of recalls et al by the automakers, which is partly the result of the former’s focus on driver safety over safety defects. The self-reporting protocol broke down between both GM and the agency, leading to the recall parade being led by the former, and future improvements of the reporting process and beyond for the latter.

Finally, Automotive News reports Nettleton Auto Sales Inc., a used car dealership in Jonesboro, Ark., is suing GM for being stuck with inventory it cannot sell because said inventory contains “highly dangerous vehicles” that may or may not be affected by the main February 2014 recall. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Little Rock over a week ago and disclosed by GM in bankruptcy court this week, says the automaker “actively” concealed the out-of-spec part until this year. The vehicles named in the suit total three thus far — all Chevrolet HHRs — with additional vehicles to be named later.

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8 Comments on “Feinberg: Report On GM Victims Compensation “Weeks Away”...”


  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Here’s a thought. Lets not compensate those who were legally drunk, going more than 20mph over the speed limit and weren’t wearing their seatbelts.

    Oh wait, only 3 people would get any money out of it and the average deaths for the affected cars would fall in line with all other cars produced…well that won’t work.

  • avatar
    GMat

    PoIn,

    You are on the right track, but sadly this approach would not support the narrative.

  • avatar
    wmba

    “Because my acquaintance owns a Cobalt and feels unable to drive it, he could not pick me up to take me to the free dinner he had promised me for months.

    I am therefore suing GM for the cost of one home delivery pizza deluxe that I had to buy instead.”

    This is the kind of mindset we’re dealing with here. Something for nothing, to hell with any logic, those HHRs we got for a song are worth a fortune now.

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