NHTSA boss pans GM’s “flawed” safety culture image

David Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, openly criticized the US automaker for the way it handled recalls, including the 2.6 million ignition switch one.

While so far the top US auto safety regulator was not so harsh when commenting GM’s mishandling of a recall that was concealed internally for at least a decade, Friedman now burst and expressed his opinion on the company’s way in reporting and recalling cars. The No. 1 US carmaker recently took the tally of fatalities linked to the ignition switch recall from 13 to 19.

“GM very clearly made some incredibly poor decisions when it came to their culture,” Friedman said in an interview. “They were more worried about us (NHTSA) getting information about problems than they were about actually fixing problems.”

Friedman also said that he is now conducting new meetings with the top global automakers to establish new methods for recalling the automobiles. Friedman’s harsh comments towards GM come as he is scheduled today to appear before a Senate panel that also grilled GM’s CEO Mary Barra.

The Senate subcommittee is also likely to question National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s acting administrator for the agency’s own failure to link the consumer complaints and accident data to GM’s vehicles equipped with the defective ignition switch.

Via Reuters