GM Ignition Switch Recall Compared To Takata Airbag RecallOctober 30, 2014
A recent article in Forbes magazine compared the issues surrounding the GM ignition switch recall to the problematic Takata airbag recall. The article poses the idea that the reaction to the GM ignition switch recall, while still slow, was much faster than that involving the defective airbags. Both companies are facing numerous lawsuits stemming from deaths and injuries sustained by drivers and passengers due to faulty parts.
Details of GM Ignition Switch Recall
The GM ignition switch recall arose from a faulty design that caused millions of vehicles to lose power when the switch assembly was jarred loose. The switch would move from the “ON” position to the “ACC” position, cutting power to the vehicle. The loss of power could cause the driver to lose control due to the lack of power steering. Drivers and passengers would also be at higher risk of injury due to the airbags failing to deploy during a collision. Reports of more than 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries prompted the company to issue a GM ignition switch recall on more than 3 million vehicles.
Details of Takata Airbag Recall
Takata, a major Japanese auto parts manufacturer, received reports that a chemical used as a propellant in its airbag deployment system would not react as predicted in areas of high humidity. The high water content in the air could cause the system to expel shards of metal and plastic that could cause serious injury or death. The Takata airbag recall involves more than 7.8 million vehicles from ten major U.S., German and Japanese automakers, including more than 5 million Honda vehicles and an undetermined number of GM cars and trucks.
Barra Addresses GM Ignition Switch Recall
The Forbes article states that CEO Mary Barra quickly addressed the GM ignition switch recall issues shortly after taking over the position from her predecessor, Daniel Akerson. Under the company’s previous administration, engineers reportedly tried to cover up the defects that led to the GM ignition switch recall. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into the cover-up led to executives testifying before Congress about the facts behind the defective switch design. The automaker paid millions in fines to the federal government as still faces the loss of millions more in product liability lawsuits.
GM Ignition Switch Recall Handled Faster Than Takata Problems?
In comparison to the GM ignition switch recall, the article argues that Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada took little to no action when informed of the company’s defective airbag system. The article cites a Bloomberg report that showed that the problems existed as far back as 2006, when plant workers in Mexico mishandled the ammonium nitrate propellant and caused an explosion in the company’s plant. The article states that Mr. Takada issued an apology for the “concerns and troubles” surrounding the airbag issues and promised to form a quality-control committee, but has not taken aggressive action to recall the defective airbags or warn customers of the dangers involved.
Know Your Rights in a GM Ignition Switch Recall Lawsuit
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