The company announced that two of its engineers, identified by Reuters as Ray DeGiorgio and Gary Altman, have now been placed on paid leave as part of the internal investigation regarding the defective ignition switch.
General Motors is now under federal probes from the NHTSA and US Congress and also decided to pursue an internal investigation to find out who is responsible for the way the company dealt with the recall that affected 2.6 million cars and has led to at least 30 crashes and 13 fatalities.
The company has now also revealed it instructed dealers replacing the faulty ignition switch to replace the ignition lock cylinders – on the recalled cars the keys can be removed while the engine is running! This could cause the car to roll and crash.
GM also revealed it’s aware of “several hundred complaints” of the incident taking place, which led to at least one car rolling – no fatalities occurred but there was one injury.
Ray DeGiorgio was GM’s engineer who designed the original switch used on the 2003 Saturn Ion since 2002 and later on several other models – all involved in the recall. During a US probe testimony – CEO Mary Barra was accused the company had “a culture of cover-up”, which made its engineer deliver untruthful testimony about the defect.
The other engineer, Altman, was the program engineering manager on the Ion and Cobalt – and during the same lawsuit in which DeGiorgio lied he said GM knew in 2005 about the problem and decided not to fix it.