Safety group questions GM recall report image

Just as GM CEO Mary Barra and the author of the independent report on the company’s recall, Anton Valukas, are preparing for their US Congress hearings, an auto safety group questioned the review.

Back in February, General Motors entered a public scandal after the recall of 2.6 million cars equipped with defective ignition switches was revealed to have been years late. Then, in March, GM’s CEO, newly appointed Mary Barra called for an outside investigation – led by former US Attorney Anton Valukas. The conclusions of the report – which called the culture of safety at the automaker flawed, stated that several officials knew about the problem for at least 11 years and claimed the senior executives were left out of the loop – were presented earlier this month.

Now, Clarence Ditlow, the executive director for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Auto Safety, sent a letter to Valukas, in which he claims he “wrongly” accepted the company’s explanation that cars stalling were not known to pose safety threats.

GM explained “that its engineers and senior managers did not know” about the safety issue and the report “avoided and missed crucial facts and issues in constructing what amounts to a corporate defense against criminals charges” and “repeatedly omitted materials that show GM at its highest levels of management considers stalling to be a safety defect.”

Ditlow also sent a letter to the congressional investigators, in which cited documents about a stalling case brought by federal regulators in 1977, in which Envoy and Bravada models also stalled (but, however did not restart after). He added the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2004 also called for at least one recall for vehicles that stalled.