The management of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is confident that the internal investigation related to the defective switches of millions of vehicles linked to 13 fatalities will clear CEO Mary Barra from any wrongdoing.
During a recent meeting with 2,000 sales and marketing staff of the automaker, Barra came across as a bold leader with a strong conviction that the company will survive the recall crisis. She said, “They keep saying the recall is hurting us, but you keep proving them wrong. I believe in this team, and I know you can do it.”
GM’s May sales results defy logic
Yesterday, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) reported 13% sales growth, to 284,694 vehicles in May—its best total monthly sales since 2008. Jack Nerad, senior analyst at KBB.com, commented that the automaker’s sales performance “epitomized that trend of dying logic” given the fact that it announced a near record number of recalls last month. He also noted that consumer confidence and the economy contracted during the first quarter.
GM expected to release internal investigation findings tomorrow
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has an ongoing internal investigation regarding the faulty ignition-switches that lead to the recall. The automaker engaged the services of Anton R. Valukas, the former United States Attorney and the chairman of the law firm Jenner & Block LLP, to lead the internal probe.
Michael Millikin, the general counsel of the automaker, is assisting Valukas in the internal probe—which is focusing on the engineering, legal, products investigations and regulatory affairs departments of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM). The law firm King & Spalding LLC, which has a long history working with the automaker, is also assisting Valukas.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) recently revamped its legal department to prevent other delays in the recall of millions of vehicles. Millikin reorganized his department to ensure a faster coordination of information about defects between the divisions of the company.
Valukas is expected to name the departments, executives and employees of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) most responsible for the delayed recall of vehicles with defective ignition switches. He is also expected to recommend broad corporate and personnel changes in his report.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is expected to release the results of the internal investigation tomorrow, and Barra is expected to reveal further details regarding the defective ignition switches.
Barra cleared of critical hurdle
Some officials of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) who requested anonymity told the New York Times that Barra cleared a critical hurdle last month after the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) imposed a $35 million penalty against the automaker for its failure to report the issue on time.
When asked if the documents reviewed by the NHTSA showed that Barra had knowledge og the problem, the agency’s acting chief, David J. Friedman replied, “I don’t have any records of that.”
One of the General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) officials said there is no evidence that links Barra to the delay of the recall. Former GM CEO Daniel Akerson told Forbes magazines that Barra was unaware of the problem. He said, “She didn’t know about it. I bet my life on it.”