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GM Ignition Switch Recall Worse Than Ford-Firestone?

A former public relations executive for Ford believes that the bad publicity surrounding the GM ignition switch recall is worse than the 2000 Ford-Firestone crisis. Jason Vines, who also directed PR operations at Chrysler and Nissan, told attendees at a recent speech that the GM ignition switch recall will be a worse disaster than the Firestone tire failures in Ford vehicles more than a decade earlier. He also said that the recall will “cost (GM) billions in the end.”

Ford-Firestone Issues Similar to GM Ignition Switch Recall Problems

Just as an external investigation revealed the problems that led to the GM ignition switch recall earlier this year, a 2000 investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration showed that Ford trucks and sport utility vehicles fitted with Firestone tires showed high failure rates. The failures involved tire tread separation, which can lead to loss of control and vehicle rollover. The NTHSA investigation tied 250 deaths to the faulty tires, nearly half of which involved Ford vehicles.

Cover-Up, Emails Try to Forestall GM Ignition Switch Recall

As with the Ford-Firestone problems, the investigation into the GM ignition switch recall showed that executives at the troubled automaker tried to cover up issues related to the defective part. The probe also found that engineers were aware of the problem as far back as 1998, but hid the defective part by giving a newer part the same catalog number. A recent story broke that, just weeks prior to the GM ignition switch recall, the automaker contacted parts manufacturer Delphi Automotive to order 500,000 replacement switches.

Vines: GM Ignition Switch Recall Crisis Not Over

Mr. Vines also stated that the GM ignition switch recall is far from over. He stated his belief that the someone “far down the line” at the company “did not put the safety and the satisfaction of the customer first” and that he believed “someone is going to jail” for their part in the GM ignition switch recall fiasco.

“I don’t think they’re even halfway through (the crisis) because the plaintiffs’ attorneys really haven’t had their way,” he said.

GM Ignition Switch Recall Compared to BP, Toyota

Mr. Vines also cited the GM ignition switch recall as an example of what happens when companies fail to prepare for the worst-case scenario. He used the examples of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the 2009 recalls of Toyota vehicles with sticky accelerator pedals. As with the GM ignition switch recall, the affected companies faced the potential for billions in damages from both criminal investigations and civil lawsuits.

Source: Automotive News

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