General Motors CEO Mary Barra Faces Second Subcommittee Grilling

General Motors CEO Mary Barra Faces Second Subcommittee Grilling

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) CEO Mary Barra is scheduled to appear before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee again tomorrow. She appeared before that same committee in April, at that time focusing her comments on the new GM, although lawmakers wanted to know more about the old GM.

Barra’s written testimony released

The Wall Street Journal reports that Barra’s written testimony was released today. She will tell House lawmakers that she will continue to deal with General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s internal problems and work to improve its safety record. The automaker has announced massive recalls related to faulty ignition switches on many of its older small cars. At least 13 people have died because of the defective ignition switches.

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Engineers at General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) reportedly knew about the problems with the switches before they even began putting them into small cars in 2002. However, GM apparently didn’t realize how serious the problem was and only began trying to fix it this year.

GM’s mistakes explained

Last week, the results of former U.S. attorney Anton Valukas’ investigation were revealed in the form of a 315-page report. The report said, “There was a lack of accountability, a lack of urgency, and a faiure of company personnel charged with ensuring the safety of the company’s vehicles to understand how GM’s own cars were designed.” That statement was included in Valukas’ written testimony, which also was released today. The attorney is also scheduled to testify in front of the House subcommittee tomorrow.

Valukas highlighted one particular engineer’s missteps in connection with the defect last week. The engineer reportedly approved the switch for use even though it did not meet the standards set by General Motors Company (NYSE:GM). Later he made a modification to his decision but concealed the change, thus making it more difficult to find the root of the problem.

However, he also named other General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) employees, saying that there was no sense of urgency to figure out the cause of the problem. Barra will say that GM is already taking action in response to the attorney’s report. Of those he named, 15 of them are no longer employed at GM. The automaker is also working on plans to compensate the families of those who died in crashes.

General Motors recalls more cars

Meanwhile General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has recalled another 3.37 million cars in North America in connection with the defective ignition switches. So far year to date, the automaker has recalled over 20 million vehicles in North America. The recalls cover the ignition keys on model years 2000 to 2014 cars in the U.S. The problem with the switch is that if the key has extra weight on it, the switch could move out of the run position if it is jarred in some way. This also cut power to the air bags, thus keeping them from deploying. Some of the cars the switch was used in include the Chevy Cobalt, the Saturn Ion and the Pontiac G5.

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