GM Ignition Switch Replacements Ordered Months Before RecallNovember 10, 2014
A Wall Street Journal report showed that parts manufacturer Delphi Automotive received an urgent order for 500,000 replacement GM ignition switches less than two months before the automaker issued its recall. The report mentioned a series of emails exchanged between the manufacturers of the GM ignition switch and the automaker in December 2013. The emails mentioned “an urgent field action for our customers”, but did not mention the defect that forced the automaker to recall nearly 3 million of its vehicles.
GM Ignition Switch Flaw Has Deadly Consequences
The faulty GM ignition switch can move from the “ON” to the “ACC” position if the driver jostles the switch assembly or if a heavy key chain tugs at the ignition system. The move to the “ACC” position can cause the GM ignition switch to shut off power to the vehicle. The power loss can cause vital systems, such as the power steering, power brakes, and airbag deployment systems, to shut off. Drivers can lose control and can be seriously injured or killed in the event of a collision when these issues occur.
GM Ignition Switch Emails Stress Urgent Need
Delphi Automotive, the manufacturer of the defective GM ignition switches, revealed the existence of the emails as part of the discovery process in a series of class-action lawsuits against the automaker. The WSJ report said that employees at the parts manufacturer were astounded by the number of GM ignition switches in the order, as well as the powerful need for replacement parts stressed in the emails. A GM contractor reportedly wrote in one of the emails that, “I would need to start seeing shipments ASAP.”
GM Ignition Switch Flaw Leads to Criminal and Civil Cases
A previous investigation revealed that engineers knew of the GM ignition switch problems for nearly a decade before the company issued its recall notice in February. The apparent cover-up of the GM ignition switch issues led to a federal criminal probe into the company’s practices. The probe resulted in the automaker paying millions of dollars in fines. The class action suits against the company stem from hundreds of accidents, including at least 32 fatalities, linked to the ignition switch flaw.
Who Approved GM Ignition Switch Emails?
According to the WSJ report, GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, she was not aware of the GM ignition switch defect until she took her new position in January 2014. The WSJ article also raised the question as to who authorized the GM ignition switch email to Delphi and why those in charge did not issue an immediate recall notice on the affected vehicles. A statement released by the automaker noted that “our system needed reform” and that their new processes allow the company to “make decisions with better data.”
Source: New York Times
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