By on November 11, 2014

A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch

Just when you thought the meat of the story had long since been consumed, a lovely roast was just delivered courtesy of an email chain between General Motors and Delphi regarding a large order of parts months ahead of the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the chain occurred nearly a year ago in mid-December 2013, when GM ordered 500,000 replacement switches from its supplier a day after senior execs discussed the issue surrounding the Chevrolet Cobalt. The automaker also asked for an aggressive timetable between production and delivery.

The emails come from a discovery order linked to a case currently being heard in New York, led by attorney Bob Hilliard. While Delphi and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both declined to talk about them, GM representative Alan Adler said his company followed protocol in submitting a complete timeline regarding the recall, and “wasn’t required to disclose details of a parts order.”

The emails also don’t appear in the 315-page Valukas report, the results of the independent investigation led by attorney Anton Valukas. Valukas stated that he was hired by GM to only look for why the recall didn’t happen sooner than it had, Adler adding that the automaker did not attempt to influence the investigation. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut thinks GM might as well have done as much:

This order for 500,000 parts raises deeply disturbing questions about the validity of the Valukas report, but more important, the timeline of GM’s effort to protect its car owners. The question is why the delay and how many lives were put at risk since GM waited at least two months before issuing a recall even though it had already decided to order parts?

The emails surrounding the parts order will likely be used by a number of attorneys representing numerous class-action suits, seeking damages for everything from injury and death, to loss of resale value.

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19 Comments on “GM Parts Order Center Of New Evidence Surrounding Ignition Recall...”

  • avatar

    I love “smoking guns”

    • 0 avatar

      In August 2013 Barra’s responsibility was extended to include Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.

      “the chain occurred nearly a year ago in mid-December 2013, when GM ordered 500,000 replacement switches from its supplier a day after senior execs discussed the issue surrounding the Chevrolet Cobalt. The automaker also asked for an aggressive timetable between production and delivery.”

      This was not a routine order, so there’s no way it was not brought to her attention, if not the outright requirement of her authorization.

      • 0 avatar
        Domestic Hearse

        This! ^

        To take the metaphor a step further, this is the bone in the roast of the meat of the story.

        Matching these emails and subsequent part order with Barra’s position at GM puts Barra’s sworn testimony during the Congressional hearing in question. Imagine a sitting GM CEO indicted by a grand jury for lying to Congress…on the heels of the bailout. This is not good. Not good at all.

  • avatar

    It is a 2 month delay out of what is a 10 year issue. Also what point was there in having a recall if there are no spare parts?

    • 0 avatar

      Timing is everything, who knew what when

      • 0 avatar

        If this contradicts the submitted ‘independent’ report by attorney Valukas and testimony given to congress, then it is a big deal. It’s nice to catch a lawyer doing their job in writing. Unfortunately, it also shows that GM management is as dishonest and stupid today as it was a decade ago. When the Obama regime slaps them on the wrist, maybe more than a few people will notice that there is no more equal treatment before the law. Then again, anyone that observant already knows what’s going on.

  • avatar

    I find this whole thing very interesting and somewhat confusing.

    Last week it was my turn to bring in my 2012 Impala for the recall, and all they did was replace the black plastic piece over the ignition key that has a small hole for the key ring instead of the previous long slot.

    The whole thing took 10 minutes.

    What I don’t understand is how GM determines if the lock cylinder needs replacement. Perhaps after one has a serious accident? I hope not.

    I suppose my recall was more of a “feel-good” gesture or a liability-preventer? Either way, it seems more of a damage-control procedure for the majority, as my ignition hasn’t had any problem – BUT – I practiced controlling my car after turning off the key while driving in a safe area “just in case”!

    My heart goes out to all who have been hurt or killed due to a real ignition problem, and for that, those responsible must be brought to justice, and that goes not just for GM, but for ALL OEMs who have knowingly installed unsafe/defective components in the name of building their vehicles for as little money as possible.

    • 0 avatar

      My friend’s Camaro, subject to the recall, will not be going in for the repair. Why? Because just like your Impala, the “repair” was not changing the switch, but simply taking away the bayonet key and replacing it with a key that has a small hole.

    • 0 avatar

      @Zackman….Well said.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      That fix actually makes sense. The problem is twofold: underspecified torque requirements on the switch (which makes rotation too easy) and people’s tendencies to put a ton of [email protected]#)(* on their keyring which ups the torque causing rotation.

      And there’s really two classes of switches in the recall: there’s the Cobalts which are kill-the-driver bad, and then there are a bunch of others (like your Impala) which are higher torque but not high enough for comfort in this modern litigious environment.

      Switching to a plug hole rather than a slot eliminates almost all of the torque caused by the ton of [email protected]#)( on the keyring, and since your Impala is in the “litigious environment” category rather than “Oh my god deathtrap” category, the fix is good.

  • avatar

    I’m confused, TTAC… I thought you told us Congress and the mainstream media were focusing on the Takata story for the sole purpose of diverting attention from the GM fiasco, and that it couldn’t possibly be because there wasn’t any interesting GM news…

    (And as another side-note, you also told us that suppliers were fair game, yet GM is the one that’s been taking all the heat, and very little attention has been directed towards Delphi.)

    Apparently neither Congress, regulators, or the media got the memo about the grand manipulation they were supposed to be engaged in, since here they are enthusiastically piling on when new nuggets of info come out and GM is on the front page again.

  • avatar

    But Jack said this story wasn’t being covered anymore —

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Maybe GM figured they’d repair the switches anyway (via TSB), whether there was a recall or not.

    This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it seems odd that it wasn’t mentioned in prior reports.

    • 0 avatar

      It is a bad thing, since it throws water on GM’s timeline for when they knew about the problem. Clearly they knew about it earlier, since they went through the no-doubt short process of ordering a half-million replacement parts.

  • avatar

    Over the period of about 6 years we owned three windstar vans. 95, 97 and 96. Bought them used with low mileage and drove them each two years and added 100k to their speedometers. Then wholesaled them out with 150k miles on each of them. with the last two i noticed that my key for the 97 worked in the 96 too. The key profiles were vastly different so I guess the looseness of the key mechanism was to blame. Carried alot of keys on the keyring so I guess ford just builds a better ignition locking mechanism. Great to not need an extra set of keys.

    • 0 avatar

      Its more of a problem with the pins in the tumbler being worn vs the whole ignition switch. Honda’s of the 90’s are famous for this, just shave a Honda key down and voila a universal key for helping yourself to other folks’s Honda.

  • avatar

    And just when GM thought that they had dodged the bullet and that the Takata airbag scandal would take the heat off of them.

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