General Motors entered its biggest public relations scandal in recent history since late February when it started the recall of 2.6 million cars for ignition switch defects.
Besides public outcry over the timing and the manner the company handled a recall that was allegedly known to people inside the company since 2004 (or even 2001, according to sources), the company also faces five federal probes from different authorities.
Now, the US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced publicly that General Motors Co definitely had knowledge about the defective ignition switches and the way the problem linked to airbags failing to deploy in accidents since at least November 2009, adding that means the company has broken the law as it decided to skip upholding its assumed public safety obligations.
Next to the Secretary’s announcement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s chief, acting administrator David Friedman, also announced that so far – according to the evidence collected by his unit, there is no information that General Motors Co’s new Chief Executive Mary Barra had prior knowledge of the ignition switch defect. He considered their safety process was faulty and the recall problems the company now faces – it has so far tallied over 11 million recalled vehicles – are due to several factors, as many employees – from simple engineers to executives, were aware of the defect that has so far been linked to at least 13 deaths.