On April 1st, General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, first appeared in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee to answer questions about a recall.
Back in February, just days after she took the office, a massive recall that would encompass 2.6 million cars (and later on another 500,000 new Camaros and 3.36 million other cars) was linked to a defective ignition switch.
The batch of 2.6 million cars, among them most prominently the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, was linked so far to at least 54 crashes and 13 deaths and needs the part to be replaced. Also, after several federal investigation started, it was revealed the recall was actually coming years late – an outside internal review concluded that at least 11.
The House panel yesterday questioned Barra and also former US prosecutor Anton Valukas, who headed the GM commissioned report, in an attempt to further shed light on what has become an incredibly complicated affair.
“I know some of you are wondering about my commitment to solve the deep underlying cultural problems uncovered in this report,” said Barra, as victims’ family members were present during the hearing. “The answer is, I will not rest until these problems are resolved,” she said, adding that GM “failed to handle a complex safety issue in a responsible way.”
“After reading Mr. Valukas’s report and conducting this investigation, I still have questions about whether GM employees knowingly withheld information during previous liability lawsuits — information that could have led to an earlier recall and prevented some of these tragedies from occurring,” said Tim Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican.
The lawmakers showed strong discontent on the batch of only 15 people ousted for the mishandling of the situation and added that even if the review is truthful in claiming that senior executives were not aware of the problem until the recall was ordered, they were nevertheless responsible for the actions of the company and its failing bureaucratic culture.
Via USA Today