New data in the GM recall hearing revealed that the automaker approved the design of switches 12 years ago although it knew the model did not meet specifications.
Delphi officials, the company which supplied the parts, said that GM accepted the ignition switches which caused the recalls even if the management knew they did not meet specifications. This information raises more questions about why NHTSA and GM did not act faster to address this decade-long issue.
This memo from investigators comes as GM CEO Mary Barra prepares to testify on April 1 before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee at a hearing on Capitol Hill.
GM is recalling a total of 2.2 million vehicles, including Saturn Ion, Sky, HHR, Cobalt, Pontiac Solstice and G5, to have replaced the faulty ignition switches which could inadvertently jostled out of position and cause airbags not to deploy in a possible crash.
Beginning with 2005 federal regulators have received hundreds of complaints regarding this issue, but an investigation has been ordered only when a 16 years old girl died when her Cobalt’s air bags did not deploy.
Still, as there was no proof to lead to discernible trend to the incidents, regulators decided to do a more formal investigation.
“Lives are at stake, and we will follow the facts where they take us as we work to pinpoint where the system failed,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton.
“We now know the problems persisted over a decade, the red flags were many, and yet those responsible failed to connect the dots.”