The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head said that his agency did not have enough information to open a formal investigation in the faulty ignition switches, as GM has not provided it.
“GM had critical information that would have helped identify this defect,” said NHTSA acting Administrator David Friedman.
The US automaker GM has recalled a total of 2.6 million vehicles to fix faulty ignition switches linked to 12 deaths and 31 crashes.
GM said it first became aware of the problem in 2001, before the Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other models involved in the recall were even manufactured. NHTSA has been criticized by watchdog groups and the Center for Auto Safety for not opening in 2007 a formal investigation, as they has all the necessary evidence to do that.
“The data available at the time of (the 2007) evaluation did not indicate a safety defect or defect trend that would warrant the agency opening a formal investigation,” said Friedman.
Friedman added that the vehicles recalled by GM had since the same injuries and accidents rate as similar vehicles from other automakers.
“We are not aware of any information to suggest that NHTSA failed to properly carry out its safety mission based on the data available to it and the process it followed,” Friedman said.