By on January 16, 2016

The man in the middle of GM’s faulty ignition switch has finally spoken, and the word “mistake” came up at least twice.

That, does anyone have the number for Google, GM and Honda may join forces, and take a cab … after the break!

Former GM engineer says ‘mistakes were made’ in faulty switch

The engineer at the center of a massive recall, hundreds of lawsuits and 124 deaths linked to a faulty ignition switch that could turn off said Friday in videotaped testimony that he “made mistakes in development of that part,” according to Reuters (via Automotive News).

Ray DeGiorgio worked for GM for 23 years and helped develop a faulty ignition switch that could turn off and disable safety systems in millions of cars. Five years later, when officials recognized the part’s failure, DeGiorgio’s signed off on a change to the part — but not the part number — to address the problem. Lawyers have said that not changing the part number is evidence of a cover-up by GM.

DeGiorgio hasn’t spoken much publicly (he once told the New York Times in his driveway that he “didn’t lie, cheat or steal”) and his deposition will be key in the first of many lawsuits against GM.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: We haven’t forgotten about self-driving cars, guys

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ head of safety said Friday that the automaker is committed to developing autonomous drive technology, despite being seemingly dead last behind Ford and General Motors, who’ve announced several self-driving advancements.

Our engineers are actively exploring autonomous-vehicle technology and its implications. For strategic reasons, we don’t discuss future product plans. However, we currently offer several automated driver-assist features, such as our sensor-fusion forward collision warning systems. These activities help demonstrate our commitment to advancing the development of autonomous-vehicle technology.

Or, “Does anyone have the number for Google?”

Michael Dahl’s statement is related to a 52-week low for FCA stock, which has been battered recently because of a lawsuit and investors’ worries that the company can’t keep up with others in autonomous technology.


Honda, GM may consider joint fuel cell plant

Honda and General Motors may jointly build a fuel cell plant to cut costs and make available sooner alternative fuel cell cars, according to Reuters (via Automotive News).

The incredibly small market for hydrogen-powered cars has meant automakers such as Toyota, BMW, Daimler and Nissan have hesitated in developing a fuel cell plant on their own. Hydrogen-powered cars are most popular in Japan — where GM is not — and have a very small presence in California, mostly due to lack of infrastructure to fuel them.


Feds want states to lower BAC to .05

The National Transportation Safety Board said it wants states to lower their blood-alcohol content limits from .08 to .05 to help cut back on fatal crashes where alcohol is involved.

According to the safety administration, the risk of a fatal crash has more than doubled by the time a person becomes legally drunk, and lowering the BAC threshold could reduce the number of people killed on roadways.

The proposal is part of a larger push by the agency to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the roads.

While all states use the .08 BAC as the legal limit many states vary in enforcement, threshold for enhancers, repeat offenders and adoption of an interlock device — which we’ve talked about a lot here.

According to NBC, when Australia dropped its BAC from .08 to .05, provinces reported a 5 to 18 percent drop in fatal crashes.

GM safety

Automakers join in safety pact

Eighteen automakers — every major automaker that operates in the U.S. — joined a voluntary safety pact Friday to focus on better vehicle safety, improved access to early warning data and increased cybersecurity in cars, according to Reuters.

The broad consensus was made after another busy year for vehicle recalls and fines, and an increasing focus by federal regulators on car safety and automakers’ responsibility for their cars.

Critics of the pact said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should have held their discussions in public with input from outsiders.

“From seatbelts to catalytic converters to airbags to fuel economy standards, automakers have proven time and time again that they do nothing voluntarily,” Democratic Sens. Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.

[Images: Dodge, GM]

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65 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Infamous GM Engineer Speaks, You Only Get One With Dinner, and Hydrogen’s Hedged Bet...”

  • avatar

    RE: change in BAC for legally drunk. I would doubt that a huge number of crashes occur with drivers having a BAC between 0.5 and 0.8. I would suggest that the drop in crashes in Australia probably had more to do with publicity and public awareness of drunk driving that the difference in BAC level. If 0.8 is dangerous and 0.5 isn’t then it must be proven. I suspect that many drunk drivers have a variety of substances including prescription medications on board, at the time of accidents.
    With the rise of UBER, the common use of prescription meds for pain/depression/anxiety, the impending (or recent) legalization of marijuana, perhaps the BAC allowable level should be zero, because alcohol consumption before driving may be the only variable we can limit in a very complex equation.

    • 0 avatar

      A better idea would be to remove anyone advocating for this from the public payroll. They’ve outlived their usefulness.

    • 0 avatar

      Not a cop, but I’ve spent many years (decades) dealing with drunks on the street and I agree with you concerning BAC (you need to move your decimal, but I know what you meant). When it came to serious accidents, they were always over 0.15 and typically in the 0.2 range. Rarely were they hovering around 0.1. I was OK with the 0.1 cutoff, as it seemed like a reasonable line and officers were allowed some degree of discretion (if your driving manner was such that you got their attention and you blew a 0.1, you’re busted. If there’s no driving conduct, you were warned. You car would be parked and you’d have to find another way home).

      To me, the move to 0.08 was more political than anything else. Moving to 0.05 is even more political garbage.

      Personally, I won’t hit the road if I’ve had more than one beer.

      • 0 avatar

        The quest for more revenue.

        DUI enforcement is big, big business.

        Follow the money – drunk drivers don’t have a powerful lobby.

        But lawyers, for profit prisons, makers of interlock devices, providers of drug and alcohol diversion programs – well they do.

      • 0 avatar

        it doesn’t help that MADD pushed the government to use multiple imputation to inflate their drunk-driving statistics. Not to mention counting sketchy incidents where alcohol wasn’t even a factor; e.g. if I’ve had a couple of drinks and you (sober) rear-end me while I’m stopped at a red light, that would be counted as an “alcohol-related” crash if the police decide to test me.

      • 0 avatar


        This is my understanding of the situation–that the crashes and fatalities are not happening among people with a BAC of .08 or less, and I suspect that the push for .05 is political. And, yes, what APaGttH says.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Similar background and opinion, brn. In my area, the average DWI Arrestee has a bac of 0.15%. The others are simply going undetected.

        There seems to be a DWI-hound cop in just about every jurisdiction who can spot relatively low level impairment. Good for him, but the lower the threshold the more an arrest seems like happenstance.

        The DWI-hound cops don’t lack for arrestees at the .08% standard and above.

    • 0 avatar

      “BAC allowable level should be zero, because alcohol consumption before driving may be the only variable we can limit in a very complex equation.”

      I love zero tolerance laws! I’ve never really checked to see if you could purchase stock in the prison industry?

      • 0 avatar

        An interesting thing about the DWI industry is that a very high percentage of defendants are generally contributing members of society with a lot to lose. This makes DWI the most litigated crime in the country. From a legal perspective, there’s a lot of money to be made by low-end attorneys. I guess they need jobs too.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica


      • 0 avatar

        Even MADD is against this. It’s an obvious money grab.

        • 0 avatar

          Candace Lightner may have founded MADD, but she left the organization in 1985 – over 30 years ago. That isn’t to say that MADD supports 0.05 – though my guess is that they do, based on their political history – but the article doesn’t mention any official statement from MADD one way or another.

          • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      I think the Australian statistic is also a confusion of correlation and cause. Australia first started lowering BAC in the first state in 1974, by all states in 1994. But fatalities in car crashes were going down in the US at the same time, for a number of reasons – more safety equipment in cars, better roads, other laws, ect. It’s like how Mexican lemons prevent highway deaths. (australia discussion is on page 50)

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting, I didn’t know the history of the BAC limits in the different states – not provinces NBC!

        I am not surprised that police data was not complete enough to scientifically prove much. Eg when the limit was 0.08 nobody was recording how many people tested in the 0.05-0.08 range! Also as mentioned in the study due to low population numbers the quantities involved were not statistically significant.

        I don’t think that the 0.08 limits were generally in place long enough for the impact to plateau before they were reduced; societal attitudes take time to change as gasser noted. Hopefully over time the percentage of ‘unreachables’ decreases, because they are a large part of the problem. Eg there was a news story prior to Christmas about several mothers picked up in the daytime with very high range BACs driving with their children in the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      When the legal limit for alcohol was lowered in Australia, penalties and fines were increased as well.

      We have rather harsh penalties for most driving offences. For example if you exceed the speed limit by more than 30mph, it’s instant loss of your licence.

      Drink Driving first offence can be can be the loss of your licence for years. But it’s mostly 3 months suspension for a low level offence, ie, 0.06 percent alcohol, along with a big fine.

      Finland has the best approach to how to levy fines. It’s based on your income. I did read one article were some really rich Finn paid a couple hundred grand in a speeding fine.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve worked in an ER for 27 years, and my experience suggests gasser is right. Most drunk drivers who wind up in the ER have a BAC of 0.20 or higher. In fact, it’s not unusual to have someone so drunk they cannot stand up unaided – but they can sit in the driver’s seat and press the gass pedal. BAC of 0.05 – 0.08 is rare.

    • 0 avatar

      I would much rather see harsher penalties for those caught driving drunk – seems like there are always stories of multiple conviction drivers getting caught again and again…
      Not sure as to the solution – Three strikes and you are out?

      • 0 avatar

        I would guess a better solution is to have a system where the drunk never drives in the first place. Incentives to provide cab rides, autonomous cars, etc., might be the only solution.

  • avatar

    An Autonomous driving HELLCAT is like a gun that pulls its own trigger.

    No fun to use.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed, although I suspect most Hellcat drivers would opt to manually control the car in any situation other than being stuck in traffic. I’d also say just cruising down the road on a trip but it seems people would rather suffer through abysmal customer service and be packed like sardines into a flying tin can rather than take a “road trip” that isn’t five or ten minutes.

  • avatar

    “I realize I made mistakes in the development of that part”

    That isn’t why people are mad at you!

    I don’t blame DeGiorgio for messing up the design in the first place by not realizing that there was a safety problem. Well, I don’t blame him much. Engineering mistakes happen, and deaths caused by them are tragedies, but I can buy that he had no idea what the implications could be.

    What is lazy and reckless is that Delphi TOLD HIM that the switch was problematic and he told them to shut up and make he part anyways. Fixes are expensive yo.

    What is criminal is him not changing the part number when it was finally redesigned. This caused a great deal of trouble for investigators both inside and outside of GM and appears to have contributed greatly to this staying buried for so long.

    Mistakes happen. Being penny-pinching and lazy about fixing your mistakes is despicable. Covering up your lazy mistakes is fraud.

    • 0 avatar

      It is a wonderful thing to own up to one’s mistakes or errors in judgement, but it doesn’t bring back the dead.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        That GM’s guys wording is quite significant by the use of “mistake”.

        I do investigations into maintenance incidents. Mistake leads to error as you mentioned and not violation.

        If GM is proven to have violated the outcome will be significantly different than if an “error/mistake” occurred.

    • 0 avatar

      yeah, the whole “revising the part design while keeping the same part #” is a HUGE no-no. even if it wasn’t a safety-related issue, it would make things difficult even internally should a quality/warranty issue arise.

      hell, I work in audio/multimedia and even something as mundane as releasing an new EQ/calibration for the radio requires a part number suffix bump.

    • 0 avatar

      I can completely see how the part numbering mix-up happened, and believe that it was just a “production expedient” or laziness, not some kind of intentional cover-up. They certainly shouldn’t have taken such shortcuts on a safety-related change, but hindsight is 20/20 in this case.

      Changing a component on a released design can have a large ripple effect, requiring changes to tons of documentation and confusion from people implementing the change. If the design engineer is sure that a replacement part is a true drop-in substitute, electrically and mechanically, it can be much easier to just swap the same part number over to the newer part.

  • avatar

    “investors’ worries that the company can’t keep up with others in autonomous technology.”

    Seriously? There are investors that aren’t government zealots keening to get into AVs?

    Maybe it’s not too early to shop my Martian Saunas® startup.

  • avatar

    I just read the article, the whole article, about Cooper, the socially responsible
    munificent lawyer who did much to bring down GM. And pocketed about
    10M doing so.

    Don’t get me wrong. I do think litigation has a role in making manufacturers more responsible. And Unsafe at any Speed was the first book
    I ever bought.

    But an idea of my cousin’s, or maybe it was not original,that lodges firmly in my cortex, was that GM should
    have merely issued keys without a hole in them.

    • 0 avatar

      Keys without a hole? Never mind the inability to keep track of one’s keys in this scenario, please remember we are talking about the company that took a quarter century to figure out how to equip cars with one key instead of two.

      Overall take: It sickens me that this scumbag designer, and his bosses, aren’t on death row.

      • 0 avatar

        But the tech to prevent key-operated ignition switches from unintended shut-off existed decades ago when they came out with keyless entry by punching in a code.

        All in all, GM got off easy in spite of people who died. And the feds should do the same for VW’s emissions cheating where no one died because of the cheating.

        Modern day, automakers issue fobs. And now you have to worry that someone doesn’t intercept your fob recognition code and steals your ride, or shut your engine off while you’re driving down the road.

        Stolen GM cars can be disabled by On-Star when law enforcement requests it. So if On-Star can do it, some entrepreneurial hobbyists can do the same by transmitting a disabling code, totally surprising the driver.

        • 0 avatar

          @HDC: “Modern day, automakers issue fobs. And now you have to worry that someone doesn’t intercept your fob recognition code and steals your ride, or shut your engine off while you’re driving down the road.”

          While I’ve been around IT security long enough to never say never, the fobs sold today take MUCH more than just a simple replay attack to spoof.

          The same should go for OnStar (and similar services), assuming they’re using industry a standard encryption on their communications links. (I’ve never owned a vehicle new/fancy enough to be equipped with OnStar or anything like it, so I haven’t looked in to it.)

          The industry standard encryption used in computing these days (the Secure Sockes Layer (SSL) & friends) is pretty good. (It’s not perfect: problems with it have been found and fixed, especially since the Snowden Revelations). But, SSL is pretty good and I personally can’t beat it. Also, if you listen closely to the news about “hacking” incidents, nobody beats the encryption — its usually shoddy information security practices, or an individual with legitimate access to the system who decides to share a few GB worth of classified documents.

          The industry standard encryption used in Internet communications and RFID chips makes the Enigma Machine look like child’s play. The car guys often fail to learn all of the lessons they could from the IT security guys, but they’ve using self-changing codes to defeat just replaying the radio signal, and theyve been doing that for decades.

          Predicting the next code for a particular fob will produce on a car made in the last decade is likely to be nontrivial (unless you can read the memory in the fob or on the car-side computer). This is still true, even if a proper audit from an IT security firm is likely to turn up some problems.

          • 0 avatar

            yeah, this. we had some internal talks after the UConnect fiasco, and apparently the exploit was thanks to some pretty basic information security FAILs (e.g. TCP/IP ports were left open.) Apparently it was non-trivial to get the UConnect module’s IP address, but once you had it even a script kiddie could have gained access.

            The other issue here is that CAN was (to the best of my knowledge) never designed or intended to be world-facing. It does the job it was intended to do (be a standardized, fault tolerant way for modules to communicate on a *closed* network.) The FAIL with UConnect was not only did they build a bridge from their CAN to the outside world, they also forgot to lock the gate.

          • 0 avatar

            Luke42, don’t forget about the directed-EMP devices that disable cars when law enforcement resorts to them. Plans to make them are available on the Internet for hobbyists, and they are quite effective on vehicle electronics that is not shielded.

            They are used as a last resort by law enforcement but they have been proven highly effective on the AZ desert-road trials when intercepting drug runners.

            In my area, with White Sands Missile Range and the HELSTF, most personal and private transmitters are prohibited to keep from interfering with trials and tests.

            And sometimes those trials and tests unintendedly affect vehicle electronics in the most bizarre way, like setting off the car alarm while your driving, or changing your satellite radio station, or scrambling digital reception. There are actually people who claimed that their car’s engine died while driving.

            It never happened to me, but my cellphones quit working on more than one occasion as we were crossing the desert, while in plain sight of cell towers.

            What you say is true, but some people have claimed weird interference from stray RF signals.

        • 0 avatar

          Bullshit. People die from Asthma , Bronchitis, and Emphysema everyday.
          Diesel is MAYBE the goddamned worst thing for the lungs used outside of coal.

          • 0 avatar

            In 2009 the EPA conceded 95% of all NOx emissions were the result of coal fired power plants. Diesel usage is too small to matter, closing down the coal plants will clear the air… but also generate less electricity for all the digital doodads society likes and the EVs environmentally conscious people do or want us to drive. Reality’s a b*tch.

          • 0 avatar

            There is technology available today that will actually scrub coal plant emissions but it is not economically feasible to retrofit the old coal-fired electricity-generating plants. In NM we’re closing down two major coal-fired plants and replacing them with……nothing.

            But money can still be made from the overabundant coal supplies found in the US — by exporting it.

            And we’re doing that, plus we’re exporting gasoline, diesel, oil, and oil products like naphta, LPG, benzene and many other oil-derived products used in medicine, plastic production and beauty products.

            The electricity-generating companies are taking NM residents for a trip to the cleaners because residents are footing the bill for solar and wind farms while the electricity produced is actually exported out of NM.

            It can be argued that like money, electricity too is fungible once it is put out on the grid. As such, the cost of electricity is now kept artificially high, like the price of kerosene, gasoline and diesel fuel once was.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Most people here don’t seem to be aware of common engineering practice.

    Part number changes are warranted when an item’s Form, Fit, or Function changes – not improves. There is such a thing as revision control, and inventory control of revised items. Revision B supercedes Revision A, and so on.

    Additionally, there is a decision to be made about old inventory – scrap it, exhaust it, or repair it. The course of action depends on the change, the difficulty of managing inventory, the urgency of the change, and the cost of scrapping, exhausting, or repairing. You don’t just scrap old parts every time, even if they’re not as ideal as the newest revision.

    The improved switch’s Form (appearance), Fit (relation to other parts), and Function (operation of the electrical system) did not change – only improved. If the company and its dealer network are incapable of managing various revisions of parts in inventory, then a part number change is the safest bet. In theory, it can and should be possible to manage revision changes in inventory. However, even my company struggles with it, and sometimes a part number change is the only way to effectively exorcise old inventory. I’ve had some changes take a year to implement, because the item being updated was a slow mover and we had too much inventory.

    Again, it’s not that the defective switch was labeled “killer switch”, and Mr DiGeorgio blithely went on using it without regard for human life. Rather, this was an ongoing matter of a poor-performing item whose performance was being improved. Nobody realized the urgency of the matter, and not every change is urgent.

    Hindsight – always 20/20 – tells us that the change was sufficiently important that GM should have issued a new part number for the improved switch (in which 99% of the components remained unchanged), and old inventory never used again. Then, as the investigations revealed that the old switch could be a “killer switch”, an immediate recall should have been issued to remedy older cars with a better part. This latter response goes way beyond a career engineer’s efforts in the trenches.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      SCE to AUX,
      Determining the change of a component when it’s safety critical is the responsibility of the engineers. A risk assessment is carried out regarding how to implement any changes or modifications to existing engineering design.

      I do know in my job I carry out risk assessments all the time. If I screw up we are held accountable.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Risk assessments are a good practice – and they require thoughtful time – but I suspect that in this case none was deemed necessary.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          @ SCE to AUX – Having held positions as a Quality & Manufacturing Engineer everything you posted concerning part number revision/changes & then dealing with existing inventory is spot on with my work experience. Often after the engineering changes have been approved though the company ECO system the real work is making sure that the ball doesn’t get dropped following through on disposition of existing inventory. I’ve seen that happen more than once.

    • 0 avatar

      There was a statement from another GM employee saying that policy was for the altered part to be given a new number. Now GM could just be trying to throw him under the bus, but it sure sounds like DeGiorgio violated procedure by not assigning a new part number.

      I do suspect your right that no one realized that the switch was potentially fatal. I think there’s an argument to be made though that they really should have considered that. It’s not all on GM though, NHTSA started to figure this out back in 2007, but killed the investigation.

    • 0 avatar

      “if the company and its dealer network are are incapable of managing various revisions in inventory”

      Um…that is what the part number is for.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not clear on how GM part numbering strategy works, but it doesn’t look like they use suffixes. from my time working with Auburn Hills and Dearborn, both of them append suffixes to their part numbers. e.g. a Chrysler p/n would look like 56042892AA, Ford something like FL3T-19C107-AA (which looks messy but there’s rhyme and reason for that.) Any minor design change (even if it’s just an improvement in fit/form/function) should at the very least cause a suffix bump (e.g. -AA to -AB.) I can’t imagine any legitimate reason where something like the GM switch design modification would have escaped at least a suffix bump at the other two. Even absent safety implications, having two different part designs with the same part number will make it hell to do any root cause analysis should warranty/quality problems turn up.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      SCE to AUX, do automotive parts carry both supplier part numbers and auto assembler part numbers or only part numbers assigned by the assembler? Does Delphi maintain part numbers separate from GM?

      In electronics, the company designing the assembled product usually creates a part number that may reference several different component part numbers that meet the specification. If it is later discovered that parts from one supplier, but not others, fail to meet the specification, an ECO removes the under-performing part from the part specification. However, if the requirements for the component change, a new part number is created.

      The cleanest way would be to create a new GM part number for the ignition switch used later Cobalts, but I could see where GM would choose the cheap route on an engineering change for a crappy car they only built for CAFE compliance.

      • 0 avatar

        “SCE to AUX, do automotive parts carry both supplier part numbers and auto assembler part numbers or only part numbers assigned by the assembler? Does Delphi maintain part numbers separate from GM?”

        in my experience, yes, though the supplier part/model number may not always be visible. I used to work for Sony, and here’s an example of one of the parts we supplied to Ford:

        CT4T-18B849-AF is the Ford part #, and MBT4TB849DB is the Sony model #.

  • avatar

    If DeGiorgio were a civil engineer and had to stamp the drawings of a bridge he designed with said mistakes and it killed people, he would be personally liable. They need to change the laws regarding engineering approvals and require that ALL systems that have the potential to kill or maim require a a professional engineer’s stamp.

    Only civil engineers face this challenge in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I do believe the auto industry should use the model currently in use by aviation for any engineering approval.

      Our processes might be a little more involved, but they reduce the risk of unintended outcomes.

      A simple way is to have engineering approval in the auto industry of safety critical systems and components approved with the approving authority totally responsible for any deficient design flaws.

      • 0 avatar

        Considering the imaginative nature of some liability lawsuits, it’s hard to imagine that there would eventually be any components not considered safety critical.

        Moreover, aviation has extremely long lead times compared to automobiles. No auto manufacturer will wait years for a super agency to sign off a car because certification of its new beryllium lug nuts is still far back in the queue.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @ktm: I get what you’re saying, but nearly every product can kill or maim if it fails in some strange way, or if it is misused.

      Cars don’t fall into the same category as bridges because bridges are passive systems – the people who use them have no control over their function or maintenance.

      There are graduated and varying levels of accountability which should exist in every company. You’ll notice that Mary Barra didn’t take the fall for this debacle, yet the CEO always says they’re ‘ultimately responsible’… but they aren’t. As the same time, the vehicles in question are GM’s cars, not Mr DiGeorgio’s.

      What probably should have happened is another level of review for a safety-related change, so that a room full of 5 or 10 engineers could agree on the course of action, rather than leave it to one individual. Then the debate would be whether improving the detent function in an ignition switch is a safety issue or not.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think that would have helped in this case, since from what I’ve read GM’s dysfunction at the time meant nobody actually grasped the safety implications. even through rounds of FMEA development, the severity of a problem with the switch never seemed to rise above “the car will shut off.” AFAIK nobody ever made the connection to “oh, and the airbags won’t deploy if the car then collides with something.”

  • avatar

    Were the Easy-Off switches sold to any other OEM or doesn’t Delphi work that way?

    Also, most of the articles and vids I’ve seen focus on the Cobalt and Ion (+ non-US variants). Were other GM vehicles affected?

    • 0 avatar

      Delphi has said that the part was only sold to GM. There was a New York Times article in which Delphi actually accused GM (specifically DeGiorgio) of “bullying” them into manufacturing a switch that they knew was flawed, although IIRC the complaint was an electrical problem rather than the mechanical one. But basically, they knew the thing was garbage from the get go.

      2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
      2007-2010 Pontiac G5
      2003-2007 Saturn Ion
      2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
      2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
      2007-2010 Saturn Sky

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks, VC. I saw some good depictions of that switch detent plunger and thought it must be a fairly universal method of accomplishing the detent function.

        Maybe the DeGiorgio/Delphi unit is the only under-built one out there? Hope so.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t know Ride Height. I’ve had three switches installed in my 05 ION in 64,000 miles.

          Got the fourth, the “New & Improved As Seen On TV Official Recall Edition” switch and it STILL won’t release the key without finger diddling a switch underneath the steering wheel.

          And yes, I’ve replaced the associated parking pawl sensor twice which lasted all of a year and 3000 miles of driving.

          Those old junk ignition switches were simply replaced with new junk switches that were in inventory. Or inadequately re-engineered replacements.

          No, I don’t think the DeGiorgio/Delphi unit was the only under-built one out there.

          It just makes me question the wisdom of buying any GM car with any more electronically sophisticated systems than a frigging base ION.

          Why would I trust them when they can’t even get a simple ignition switch right ?

          Up their dark dank fundament with a starter crank.

          • 0 avatar

            As an example, there was a recall with regard to the ignition switch on my 2014 Chevy Camaro (I no longer own this vehicle, but I owned it long enough to get the recall notice). It seems the lesson was not learned (the lesson being to perform a thorough Failure Mode and Effects Analysis for newly designed vehicles and/or safety related parts).

          • 0 avatar

            Why would I trust Honda when they can’t even get airbags right?

  • avatar

    Here in British Columbia, Canada, the illegal alcohol impairment level for driving has been reduced from .08% to .05% for a number of years, and combined with a vigorous public awareness campaign, the results have been dramatic. DUI charges are way down as well as DUI-caused injuries and deaths. It’s likely due as much to perception tipping points as with stiffer penalties. (The leading cause now is distracted driving – accidents due to cell phone usage while driving.)

    As we’ve seen, tipping points can happen very quickly: the switch, for public tobacco use, from universally acceptable to universally unacceptable was very swift.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s really awesome for BC, I hope the trend continues.

      I kind of doubt it will have the same result in America though, it’s just too much of how we deal with our problems, and too many of us aren’t good decision makers even before we’re intoxicated.

      I mean, the main reason we repealed prohibition wasn’t the crime problems so much as there was a depression and everyone wanted to be able to drink openly. Kind of the opposite situation that seems to have happened in BC, actually. The social pressures not to drink that led to prohibition were immense. I realize you’re talking about driving and not just banning the stuff, I just think America’s complicated relationship with alcohol is… well, complicated.

      • 0 avatar

        Sounds like the “tipping point” in BC may have had more to do with .08 allowing for or encouraging 2.5 beers max, before hitting the road, for the average drinker, while .05 is more like 1.5 beers for the same folks. That’s the point of “why bother” , if you ask me. Meaning 1.5 beers isn’t enough for me to get or feel a buzz, but close enough to get a DUI. Might as well have zero tolerance.

    • 0 avatar

      In urban centres drinking and driving rates have dropped but I’m willing to bet that in rural areas it hasn’t changed much. Operators of snowmobiles and ATV’s or UTV’s are huge offenders. The government response has been to force collision and liability insurance upon these vehicles instead of increased patrols and enforcement. Rural mortality rates from trauma are considerably higher than in urban centres. Ironically the BC government has no problem funding dedicated medivac helicopters for the lower mainland but will not foot the bill for the Northern part of the province.

      Rural areas also have higher tobacco use than urban areas.

      • 0 avatar

        Wide open and rural places have always encouraged, alcohol and tobacco use, but suffering a trauma out there may mean help won’t arrive in minutes, never mind getting to the trauma center within the golden hour. And I understand medivac helicopters don’t get dispatched until ground paramedics arrive to access the level of injury (or illness)

  • avatar

    The DUI “industry” is still huge, but hurting. But do you really think they don’t have lobbyists in DC?

    Without looking it up, DUI arrests and DUI related deaths and injuries have to be at an all time low. It’s the states that want/need more DUI money, along with private prisons, all wanting the Feds to look like the bad guy

    And it’s all straight-up “business” for everyone involved in DUIs. My handyman got a DUI and they kicked him out of the drunk tank the next morning, free on his own recognizance. Yeah, no bail! They must have ran his credit score. A no account, complete deadbeat. A liability in the DUI game. 15 old misdemeanor warrants at the time too. $100,000+ worth! Driving on a suspended’s, failure’s to appear, etc. They instantly kick him out, every time he’s arrested and he never shows up for court dates. With nothing to lose, they can’t make any money off of him.

    With lowered DUI rates, the industry has to be missing out on billions of dollars yearly or monthly, and are not helped by increased marijuana use and prescribed opiates/anti-depression meds.

    Yes the Fed want to make us all safer, but have to also want more DUI money landing on poor, broke and bankrupt states, with more crashes landing an easier DUI conviction

  • avatar

    In other hydrogen car news:

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It’s interesting how the alternative fuel community is quite divided on this issue (just like the Republicans).

      As an EV driver who is ‘between EVs’ for the time being, I side with the EV fans who criticize the H2 efforts. There isn’t – and won’t be – any infrastructure, and the energy equation is not even close for FC vehicles. Toyota, Hyundai, and friends expected the states to pay for fueling stations, but that’s not going to happen. Not to mention the higher complexity of FC vehicles, safety questions, and higher cost to buy. It’s really just a political boondoggle, and I predict the Mirai will go down as Toyota’s greatest flop.

      There are 14 H2 stations in the entire US, which is up from 9 a couple years ago. If Tesla had built the Supercharger network at that rate, they’d be out of business by now. At the moment, this map indicates 247 Tesla Superchargers in the US:

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