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What Did GM's CEO Say about the Company's Killer Ignition Switch Defect?

Monday, May 01, 2017By Richard Alexander

When a company makes a mistake that causes fatalities, the CEO should have something to say about it to the public. The CEO of GM, Mary Barra, has had a lot to say about the defects that have recently plagued her company’s cars.

The defect caused the ignition switch to turn to the "off" or "accessory" position while people were driving. This caused power steering, power brakes, and even the airbags to be disabled. The defect caused a staggering amount of crashes, and it made them more deadly because of the loss of properly functioning air bags.

To her credit, Barra first apologized to victims and their families. Barra mentioned that GM would be doing what it could for the families and that the company was going to make sure nothing like this happened again.

Barra next talked about how its internal investigation turned out. She said that the investigation turned up a plethora of mistakes that led to the defect being so deadly. Of course, this leads an astute observer to ask: With so many errors, why did so many deaths and injuries have to occur before GM announced a recall?

Barra next addressed whether there had been a trade-off between safety and the cost of replacement ignition switch parts. Although Barra claimed that no such trade-off occurred, GM's part provider Delphi claimed that it told GM about problems with the part early on.

What did Barra say about why it took so long to discover the cause of the crashes? She said that once accidents started occurring on the roads, GM's investigators didn’t realize that the ignition switch problem was connected to the airbags not deploying. With the hundreds of deaths that this defect caused, it’s difficult to believe that with all of this evidence, no one at GM and no investigator believed that the two were related.

Lastly, Ms. Barra talked about how her company was handling the recall and defects internally. GM fired 15 employees for either not taking enough action or for not checking for the safety measures thoroughly enough. Five employees were heavily disciplined. Barra also reported that many employees had taken no responsibility for anything that happened, instead looking for reasons not to act instead of looking out for consumer safety.

The comments made by GM's CEO show that the company knowingly kept a product on the market that simply shouldn't have been there. When something like this happens, it's important that consumers act together to send a strong message to the company.

Cases like those involving GM's fatal ignition switch are best handled by lawyers with deep experience in both accident and products liability law. Don’t let big car companies get away with putting you at risk. If you or a loved one were hurt in a crash caused by a defective car part, contact the attorneys at the Alexander Law Group, LLP or call 888.777.1776. All calls are free and confidential.

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