GM Recalls 3.36M Vehicles Over Ignition Problem
In today’s digest: General Motors issues another ignition-related recall; has fixed a handful of those affected by the original ignition recall; and unveils plans for three new compacts to be sold in emerging markets.
Federal Prosecutors Summon GM Employees For Recall Interviews
In its criminal investigation into General Motors, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharra’s office are summoning current and former employees to come to New York for interviews regarding the automaker’s actions over the ignition switch behind the February 2014 product recall of 2.6 million vehicles.
Nine States Investigate GM Ignition Switch Recall
In today’s General Motors digest: Nine states are investigating the handling of the automaker’s ignition switch recall; compensation will only focus on those injured or killed; a Georgia injury claim’s transfer to New York a sign of things to come for similar claims; and a federal official saw GM’s corporate culture at work during bankruptcy proceedings, yet remained silent.
Feinberg: A Modest Window To File Recall-Related Claims
Bloomberg reports the compensation fund designed by attorney Kenneth Feinberg for General Motors will have “a relatively modest timetable to invite claimants to file their claims” once the claim period begins August 1. Feinberg also said by the end of June, he and his team will have a program “that will define who’s eligible to file a claim… what the dollars will look like for those who file,” as well as the obligations the plaintiffs will need to have “to prove their claim.” GM CEO Mary Barra added that her company won’t know the final cost of the fund “until the actual compensation has been run,” though an estimate may come at the end of Q2 2014.
Barra, Valukas To Meet With House Committee Next Week
As promised in April before both the U.S. House and Senate, General Motors CEO Mary Barra will appear next Wednesday in Washington, D.C. for a second round of congressional hearings over the February 2014 GM ignition switch recall.
US Judicial Panel Consolidates Lawsuits, Sends Them To NY
Reuters reports the lawsuits filed against General Motors over its decade-plus handling of the ignition switched linked to 13 fatalities and 54 accidents will all be reviewed by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York, as ruled Monday by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The panel determined New York to be the appropriate venue for the hearings based upon the court’s handling of the 2009 bankruptcy that allowed the automaker to shed its former self, liabilities and all. The lawsuits to be heard by the bankruptcy judge involve economic damages, suits GM wants the judge to determine if they are blocked by the liability protections established upon its exit from bankruptcy.
Barra: "Nobody Took Responsibility" For Defective Ignition Switch
Automotive News reports General Motors CEO Mary Barra delivered a 15-minute blistering speech before those in attendance and online regarding the Valukas report, which detailed the how and why a defective ignition switch first brought to life in 2001 led to the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million vehicles so equipped and the firestorm that followed. In her words, “nobody took responsibility” for the problems, that “there was no demonstrated sense of urgency” during the time period to fix the problems that still haunt the automaker. Barra added that she would never put the recall crisis behind GM, to “keep this painful experience” permanently upon the head of the corporation so as nothing like this would ever occur once more. At the end, she proclaimed her belief in GM and its employees in being able to face “the truth” about itself, and that the General overall was better than its previous actions.
General Motors To Release Valukas Report On Ignition Switch Thursday
Automotive News reports General Motors will release Thursday the results of attorney Anton Valukas’s three-month independent internal investigation into how and where the automaker went wrong before recalling 2.6 million vehicles affected by an out-of-spec ignition switch linked to 47 accidents and at least 13 fatalities. The announcement will come at 9 a.m. Eastern via webcast, with what CEO Mary Barra says will be an “unvarnished” look at the events surrounding the recall. In addition, GM will have an update on plans for compensating victims of the switch, though the attorney heading up the affair, Kenneth Feinberg, says a formal announcement won’t come until a few weeks down the road. Reuters adds the Valukas report will likely exonerate Barra, former CEO Dan Akerson and other senior execs and board members of any wrongdoing over the recall, with “a number of people” to be formally dismissed from the company due to their ties to recall. The report will be turned over to the federal government by the end of June.
Feinberg: Report On GM Victims Compensation "Weeks Away"
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.
Akerson Claims No Knowledge Of Ignition Switch Issues During GM Tenure
Last week, the B&B learned from former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson that current CEO Mary Barra did not know about the ignition switch that has since given his old company a months-long headache. The B&B then asked if Akerson himself knew of the problem on his way to be at his wife’s side and that of his colleagues at The Carlyle Group.
Automotive News reports the answer is “No.” In a post on Forbes magazine’s blog, both he and GM chair Tim Solso claim they didn’t know about the ignition switch issues at the heart of the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million vehicles. Akerson stated that if he had known about the problem, Barra would have been made aware as he handed the reins of the automaker to her in late December 2013. Solso says he didn’t become aware until after Barra called him to let him know the bad news, having become a non-voting member of the board in the following January.
Akerson: Barra Did Not Know About Ignition Defect Before Becoming CEO
Automotive News reports former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson proclaimed in an interview with Forbes magazine that current CEO Mary Barra had no knowledge of the out-of-spec ignition switch that led to the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million vehicles, going as far as to bet his own life on the statement. Barra added the fallout from the recall is a chance for GM to not only “do the right thing and serve the customer well through” the crisis, but “to accelerate cultural change” within the company. Akerson passed the torch to Barra in December 2013 to take time to care for his ailing wife, and has since rejoined Carlyle Group as vice chairman on its board of directors.
GM Raises Accident Total Linked To Ignition Recall To 47
As General Motors maintains 13 individuals lost their lives behind the wheel of vehicles affected by the February 2014 ignition switch recall, the automaker has boosted the total number of accidents related to the recall from 30 to 47.
Suzuki Swept Up In GM Daytime Running Light Recall
Though Suzuki has long since left the United States automobile market — having better luck selling Hayabusas and boat engines — its partnership with General Motors has not quite given up the ghost, thanks to a defect related to a couple of their last offerings.
Barclays: GM Recall Parade To Last Into Mid-Summer
Automotive News reports General Motors’ recall parade could, according to Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson, last well into the middle of the summer season. The data mining conducted by the automaker’s team of 60 safety investigators on 10 sources reporting potential problems — including consumer complaints and reports from its dealership network — will likely bring more recall requests before GM’s senior executives. Johnson adds that the investigators are working on likely defects on a per-issue basis instead of per-vehicle, which may mean a number of vehicles will be called back multiple times as the recall parade marches on; he also notes that its hard to discern if recalls of past vehicles have already peaked.
Endless GM Recall Parade Sign Of Industry-Wide Action To Come
Detroit Free Press posits the endless recall parade General Motors has been leading since late February 2014 may be doing more harm than good for public perception or its bottom line. Though spokesman Greg Martin claimed the recalls were an effort to make his employer “a first-class safety organization” by focusing hard upon the consumer, a survey by AutoTrader found 51 percent of auto consumers were less confident in the industry’s overall safety record as a result of the actions by GM, up from 44 percent who thought the same five days’ earlier. In addition, the automaker will take a $400 million charge in Q2 2014 for the recalls since April 1 as of this writing, while its current stock price of $33.07 per share is a few cents above its IPO price from November 2010.