GM to Pay $900 Million For Faulty Ignition Switch Cover-up
Two sources have told Reuters that the government will levy a $900 million fine on General Motors for its failure to recall and subsequent attempts to cover-up of faulty ignition switches linked to at least 124 deaths.
Criminal charges will be filed against GM for its role in hiding the defect from regulators, but will defer prosecution while the automaker complies with its penalty. The agreement is expected to be announced Thursday.
The massive fine is smaller than the $1.2 billion Toyota paid in March 2014 for its role in concealing that its cars could accelerate suddenly.
GM still faces more than 200 civil lawsuits connected to the faulty ignition switch. More than a decade ago, engineers learned that ignition switches installed in models of the Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR, Saturn Sky and Ion, and Pontiac G5 and Solstice could stall and prevent the airbags from being deployed in a crash. Engineers failed to recall, then covered up, and failed to acknowledge the scope of the problem.
In all, 124 deaths and 274 injuries were linked to the switch that cost about $1 to replace.
The case against GM has significantly changed a once-cozy relationship that automakers had with government oversight bureaus.