GM internal probe finds neglect, incompetence in switch recall
General Motors took more than a decade to recall 2.6 million cars with bad switches that are now linked to at least 13 deaths by the automaker’s count. Now, GM says it has taken steps to deal with the deadly ignition switch problem, including forcing out 15 employees. Healing has been hard for Ken and Beth Melton.
“I would gladly give my last breath just to hug her and tell her I love her one more time,” stated father Ken, who’s 29-year-old daughter Brooke died behind the wheel of her 2005 Chevy Cobalt four years ago in 2009.
The couple later learned an ignition switch problem with her car was to blame.
“Enough of trying to say we didn’t do anything wrong.”
Mary Barra, Gm’s CEO, addressed employees at a Town Hall in Detroit. A three-month internal probe found quote “a pattern of incompetence and neglect” within GM.
“Our job is clear: to build high-quality, safe vehicles. In this case, with these vehicles, we simply didn’t do our job. We failed these customers and we must face up to it, and we must learn from it.”
Barra says 15 employees were dismissed, 5 more have been disciplined. GM admitted in February that its engineers first knew about the ignition switch problem as early as 2004, but it did not recall the 2.6 million cars affected until earlier this year.
“Repeatedly, individuals failed to disclose critical pieces of information that could have changed the lives of those impacted by the faulty ignition switch.”
Brooke Melton isn’t on Gm’s list of 13 ignition switch-related deaths, according to Barra. The company is only counting head-on crashes where air bags did not deploy. Federal regulators say the death toll may grow. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is calling Thursday’s GM report “the best report money can buy” because GM paid for report, not an outside agency. While 15 employees were let go, no one in Gm’s upper management is being called to task – more reason Blumenthal calls this a whitewash. Meanwhile, GM says it will establish a compensation program for families of victims and those who suffered serious injuries in accidents related to switches.