General Motors has been under intense scrutiny since announcing in February the recall of 2.6 million cars equipped with defective ignition switches – with the company revealed to have mishandled the timing of the safety problem.
With its own internal report clearly stating the company was late 11 years to issue the recall for the fixing of the problem that has been linked to more than 50 crashes and at least 11 deaths, several probes by the US federal authorities have been opened.
One of them, a criminal investigation against the company and those responsible, now sees US prosecutors conducting interviews with past and present GM employees – according to two persons with knowledge of the proceedings.
The two sources hinted to the investigation by the office of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara, which has called various past and present officials of the automaker for statements. Just to see the magnitude of the problem the carmaker faces, we have to note that besides the Manhattan office, there are around 11 state attorneys general – in the states of Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, and New York that investigate the ignition-switch recall.
The Wall Street Journal reported the investigation and interviews, with the ignition switch related problems now covering 3.1 million cars – after the latest call back of 500,000 Camaro units. In total – for now – General Motors has recalled a record 16.5 million cars – which is around as much as the US new car sales should total this year.