This ongoing saga into GM's total lack of safety in its products has many people including US legislators questioning what is next, and can GM be fixed. This is the questions that should have been asked before the American public bailed them out and lost over $11 Billion. The news, unfortunately does not look good.
At the time of the article "GM - Recalls Keep Growing - No End In Sight" GM had 29 announced recalls, totalling 15.4 million cars. That number skyrocketed to 20 Million Cars worldwide and 44 separate recalls. Yes, twenty million, and the year is not even half over YET!
Let's put this huge number into a perspective we can all relate to. Twenty (20) Million cars is more cars than GM makes in two years! It is more cars than are sold in the USA by all manufacturers combined in 1 year.
The ignition switch recall has been in the works for over 5 months, and GM announced that only 7 percent of the repairs have been completed in the first four months of the year.
GM CEO Mary Barra, who visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill last month for private meetings, told them that GM’s supply of replacement ignition switches like won’t catch up to demand until July. In the meantime, these unsafe cars are being driven by the victims of GM's corporate secrecy.
It could be argued that I am only expressing 'sour grapes' for the other professional mechanics that are trying their best to fix your car with very limited information and are not being compensated properly. There might be some truth to that, bacuse I have first hand experience dealing with diagnosing and repairing of the ignition switch recalled cars.
These deaths and subsequent cover up by GM are related to mechanical parts which can easily be observed, diagnosed and repaired. What causes me the greatest concern, is the openness of the computer networks in all cars being made and how those cars can be hacked and easily concealed by rewriting over the code that caused the problem, should someone seek to cover their tracks!
GM has admitted knowing about the ignition switch problem for more than a decade, and that has brought investigations from two congressional committees, the Justice Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
General Motors revealed in a regulatory filing, it is the subject of five different government probes related to its massive recalls, including two previously unreported investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a state prosecutor.
The company also said it is aware of 55 class action lawsuits pending in U.S. courts, as well as five in Canada.
Also a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office in Florida told Reuters that it is participating in a “multi-state group” that is investigating complaints about General Motors.
Let's examine other information.
Examining GM's organizational chart for clues of their attitudes about safety for everyone, not only their customers that buy their products, but those of us that share the roads with them and could be injured by GM's products.
As of early last year, the director of vehicle safety was four rungs down the ladder from the CEO, according to a copy of the chart obtained by The Associated Press. Finance, sales and public relations had a direct path to the top.
What’s a higher priority than product safety?” asks Yale University management and law professor Jonathan Macey, author of a book on corporate governance. “The organization chart does obviously reflect a company’s priorities.”
Reuters searched the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a national database of crash information submitted by local law-enforcement agencies, for single-car frontal collisions where no front air bags deployed and the driver or front-seat passenger was killed.
At least 74 people have died in General Motors cars in accidents with some key similarities to those that GM has linked to 13 deaths involving defective ignition switches, a Reuters analysis of government fatal-crash data has determined. Such accidents also occurred at a higher rate in the GM cars than in top competitors’ models, the analysis showed.
General Motors hired compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg (the Agent Orange and BP oil Spill administrator) to negotiate settlements with crash victims. Lawyers say they have at least 400 possible cases against GM, and the settlements could cost the company billions.
GM admitted to concealing the ignition switch problems from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and agreed to pay a $35 million fine, the maximum the agency can impose.
The $35 million penalty was doubled from last year. But Mr. Foxx (NHTSA) urged Congress to pass legislation that would raise the fine to $300 million. Three senators introduced a bill that would lift the $35 million cap, saying that the current amount is too low to discourage automakers from hiding problems.
GM terminated 15 employees and reprimanded 5 others. This reminds me of how Toyota blamed the repair failures of their 'unintended acceleration' problem on their mechanics in their dealership service departments.
Civil litigation is another area of problem for GM. Here is but one case with some very important information.
A Georgia couple who settled with General Motors last year over their daughter’s fatal car crash linked to a faulty ignition switch has filed a new lawsuit against the automaker.
In a complaint filed in state court in Marietta, Georgia, Ken and Beth Melton accused GM of fraudulently concealing critical evidence and allowing a company representative to lie under oath.
Very important points raised in a couple forums.
POST: "Should GM continue to manufacture cars until they solve all the currently known safety complaints?"
The poster was obviously concerned for everyones safety that would be around these defective cars.
POST: Jose in San Francisco, California has been working as a professional mechanic, "Screw it I am going back to picking fruit!"
While I understand their frustrations and thinking, the only thing that will change this is when the people of the world unite to force legislation. There is a great site to start petitions and some really do make a difference, it just seems to require excessive electronic signatures. For a problem like this it might take 20 or 30 million people.
If someone cares enough to start one I'll be happy to add my signature to it at http://change.org
2014 is now in the rear view mirror and the total worldwide recalls by all car makers exceeded 42 Million vehicles for the year. 31 Million plus, was General Motors recalls only. The Takata "air bag" situation is proving to be an ever growing recall situation that has already exceeded the Toyota recall number.
In the U.S.A. the safety agency NHTSA is tasked with overseeing this increasing safety problem, while in China their safety agency has started agressively going after car and parts makers as they want to protect their people as well.
Unfortunately, according to statements made in late 2014 by the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), CEO Marichonne the problem of massive safety recalls will continue to grow for all car makers.
As the car makers reduce the number of models (ranges) of their offerings and consolidate part numbers, a single part used in many ranges that proves defective in use could translate to even higher vehicle recall numbers.
Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors stated that the corporate culture that caused the cover up in GM for over 10 years is one of her fix goals, but it is long term. She hopes to correct that culture deficiency in only 5 years. I hope that she can do it, but hope and statements won't fix GM, that problem was fully disclosed in the 1970s book "On A Clear Day You Can See GM" by John DeLorean. If it still is rampant after almost 40 years, it is seriously doubtful that it can be changed --EVER!
I believe the only fix for GM is to break it up and make each smaller division accountable on its own as a seperate company.
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