When you think of an automotive scandal, what comes to mind? Volkswagen’s current emissions scandal? Takata airbags? Ford Pintos that exploded in rear-end crashes (you’re showing your age if you remember that one). All of these made a recent “top 11” list on CheatSheet.com, along with GM’s defective ignition switch.
What makes for a “scandal” when it comes to automobiles? Often, it’s that a company knew about a safety issue but refused to change it, all in the name of profit. Or that it covered up a problem, hoping for the best.
Both of these factors are true when it comes to GM’s faulty ignition switch.
GM Knew about the Defect before Production
At least two GM engineers knew that the ignition switch was not working properly before these cars went to production. The cost of a proper switch was under $10. Still, the company pushed forward, driving GM straight into the annals of automotive scandal history.
The problem with the switch was that it easily moved out of the “on” position. This is particularly dangerous because when a car shuts off while moving, two things happen. First, the driver has a horrible time controlling the car because power steering and braking don’t work properly or as expected. Second, when the car crashes, the airbags don’t deploy.
GM Delayed Recall and Didn’t Disclose the Defect in its Bankruptcy Proceedings
Although several employees knew the switch was faulty in the early 2000s, GM failed to disclose this issue in its 2009 bankruptcy proceedings. As a result, a federal appellate court recently held that GM can’t hide behind the bankruptcy shield any longer. This means that lawsuits can now be brought against GM for claims that predate its 2009 bankruptcy discharge. Horribly, no recall was issued until 2014.
Other, more recent scandals on CheatSheet’s list include the 1960s Chevy engine mount recall, Ford’s 1980 automatic transmission defect, Audi’s and Toyota’s accidental acceleration problems, and the Ford-Firestone tire issue of the 1990s. You can review the entire list here.
The San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP are proud to help families impacted by GM’s irresponsible actions. We will fervently work with you to procure all possible monetary compensation. You can reach one of our San Francisco personal injury attorneys at 888.777.1776. Alternatively, you can our online contact form and we will get back to you promptly.