US senators increase pressure on GM image

Two US senators have signed a letter addressed to the federal authority to order General Motors to issue a never before seen “park-it-now advisory” for the owners of the 2.6 million cars involved in the defective ignition switch recall.

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey have both asked Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to force the historic measure on General Motors, which is under five different probes from federal regulators to the Congress for the way it handled the timing of the recall. According to documents and sources, the No.1 US automaker had knowledge of the defect on its cars as far back as 2001 (alleged) or 2004 (in documents).

“Every day that unrepaired vehicles remain on the road increases the risk of more injuries, deaths, and damage,” the two said in the letter.

“We will respond directly to Senators Markey and Blumenthal regarding their letter,” the Transportation Department said in a statement. “In the meantime, we continue to urge owners and drivers of affected Chevy Cobalt and Saturn Ion vehicles to always wear their seat belts and until the vehicle is remedied, to follow GM’s recommendation to use only the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring when operating the vehicle. Owners can also contact GM for information on how to request courtesy transportation.”

A lawsuit in Texas already had the US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos saying she considers not to have the competence to issue such an order, saying that in her opinion the proper authority with that competence could be the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).