The No.1 US automaker is currently under review by both houses of Congress, faces a criminal probe by the US Justice Department and is now also investigated by the attorneys general in 45 of the country’s 50 states.
As you might have already guessed, they’re all in relation to its failure to address for more than a decade a potentially fatal defect – in 2.6 million cars recalled for faulty ignition switches. There is even more bad news for the automaker, with its earnings already wiped away by the recall associated costs (it has initiated actions for close to 29 million vehicles in North America alone) and the victims’ compensation fund established to cater for the fatalities and injuries stemming from the 2.6 million cars recall.
So far, the automaker has seen only one investigation settled, as the NHTSA fined it the maximum allowed of $35 million. Still, the ongoing reviews can add billions in charges and fines, while many customers that would not be compensated by the victims’ fund could easily ask the courts to do so. So far, the 2.6 million recall has been tied by the automaker to only 13 deaths (there’s no official count on injuries), even if reports and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the number could be far greater.