GM’s “History of Failures”
In March, we reported on the massive recall of GM vehicles due to the faulty ignition switches. At this time, the defective switches are being blamed for at least 54 crashes and 13 deaths. GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles due to this issue alone. The egregious actions of GM employees and executives become more apparent by the day. GM has already been fined $35 million for not turning over relevant information about the defective switches in a timely manner. The NHTSA also reports that GM is facing an additional fine of $420,000 for not turning over additional requested information until after the Valukas report was finished. James R. Healey and Fred Meier with USA Today report on the recent internal report by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, which cites the decade-long neglect of a dangerous issue.
The Valukas Report
The Valukas Report, although paid for by GM, did find fault with corporate practices that led to the decade-long neglect of the faulty ignition switch issue. In response to the report, 15 GM employees have been fired and others have been disciplined. According to USA Today, the Valukas report uncovered a corporate culture that “lacked accountability and discouraged the sharing of bad news.” Systemic and cultural failures have been cited for the decade-long delay that allowed these faulty ignition switches to kill at least 13 people and injure many others.
GM CEO Mary Barra is getting ready to appear before a U.S. House Panel for an investigation into the recall. She has been before House and Senate committees already but refrained from answering certain questions until the Valukas report was completed. The report, although paid for by GM, does cite a “dysfunctional corporate culture” for the decade-long delay on the faulty ignition switch recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is being asked to explain why their response time took so long as well.
It’s important to note that many are criticizing this report, since the automaker paid for it. There have been complaints that it wasn’t critical enough of senior executives. It remains to be seen if the committee investigation will uncover any additional details about this almost unbelievable decade-long neglect of a deadly serious defect.