The 325-page report ordered by General Motors on its own conduct of the late recall involving 2.6 million cars equipped with defective ignition switches shows how missteps spread across no less than 11 years.
The months waited report – which was ordered in March – was headed by Anton Valukas, chairman of GM’s outside counsel Jenner & Block, and reached as far as Barra’s office.
The review concluded that senior GM officials, including Mary Barra, the board and former CEO Akerson knew little about the defective ignition switch problem, while many officials from the company’s engineering, legal and public policy departments took bad calls at many important steps.
The failures of employees and officials were spread over 11 years and detailed incredible aspects from within the company – from lawyers in the legal department who didn’t connect the dots to understand the automaker would be liable for accidents with fatalities to members of the product safety team that decided to replicate complaints from customers by driving the cars in the parking lot.
The investigation processed no less than of 41 million documents and some 350 employee interviews, and cast a harsh light on the safety practices of the automaker, as well as mishaps in communication between departments or the fact that many executives didn’t assume responsibility for issues.