Congress: GM twice failed to fix defect - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Congress: GM twice failed to fix defect

Posted: Updated:
DETROIT (AP) - General Motors discussed two separate fixes for an ignition switch defect in 2005 but canceled both of them without taking action, according to a memo released Sunday by the House subcommittee investigating GM's handling of the defect and a subsequent recall.

GM last month recalled 2.6 million small cars because their ignition switches can move from the "run" to the "accessory" or "off" position, which causes the car to stall and disables the air bags and power steering. GM says the recall is linked to 13 deaths. The recall includes the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky from the 2003-2011 model years.

Congress is investigating why GM didn't recall the cars sooner, because it first found problems with the ignition switches in 2001. It's also questioning federal regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who didn't investigate the cars despite evidence of a problem.

GM CEO Mary Barra and NHTSA Administrator David Friedman are scheduled to appear Tuesday before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. A separate Senate hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The House memo provides new details about GM's consideration - but ultimate rejection - of potential solutions.

According to the memo, GM engineers met in February 2005 to consider making changes to the ignition switch after reports it was moving out of position and causing cars to stall. But an engineer said the switch was "very fragile" and advised against changes. In March 2005, the engineering manager of the Cobalt closed the case, saying an ignition switch fix would take too long and cost too much, and that "none of the solutions represents an acceptable business case."

In May 2005, the company's brand quality division requested a new investigation into ignitions turning off while driving, and a new review suggests changing the design of the key so it wouldn't drag down the ignition. That proposal was initially approved but later cancelled.

In a statement released Sunday, GM said it deeply regrets the events that led to the recall.

"We are fully cooperating with NHTSA and the Congress and we welcome the opportunity to help both have a full understanding of the facts," the company said.

  • U.S. & World NewsMore>>

  • Putin, Poroshenko discuss settlement in Ukraine

    Putin, Poroshenko discuss settlement in Ukraine

    Wednesday, September 3 2014 2:54 AM EDT2014-09-03 06:54:11 GMT
    A spokesman for the Russian president says Vladimir Putin has discussed a peace settlement in eastern Ukraine with President Petro Poroshenko and found that they "largely share views" on ways out of the crisis.[more]
    A spokesman for the Russian president says Vladimir Putin has discussed a peace settlement in eastern Ukraine with President Petro Poroshenko and found that they "largely share views" on ways out of the crisis.[more]
  • UK team unlocking secrets of North Korea volcano

    UK team unlocking secrets of North Korea volcano

    Wednesday, September 3 2014 2:42 AM EDT2014-09-03 06:42:14 GMT
    More than a thousand years ago, a huge volcano straddling the border between North Korea and China was the site of one of the biggest eruptions in human history, blanketing eastern Asia in its ash. But unlike other...[more]
    More than a thousand years ago, a huge volcano straddling the border between North Korea and China was the site of one of the biggest eruptions in human history, blanketing eastern Asia in its ash. But unlike other major...[more]
  • Obama aims to show solidarity with Baltics

    Obama aims to show solidarity with Baltics

    Wednesday, September 3 2014 2:23 AM EDT2014-09-03 06:23:20 GMT
    President Barack Obama will stand shoulder to shoulder with Baltic leaders Wednesday in a show of solidarity with NATO allies who fear they could be the next target of Russia's aggression.[more]
    President Barack Obama will stand shoulder to shoulder with Baltic leaders Wednesday in a show of solidarity with NATO allies who fear they could be the next target of Russia's aggression.[more]
  • Stay Connected

  • Like Us on Facebook
  • Follow Us on Twitter
Powered by WorldNow

WHDH TV 7NBC WLVI TV CW56
Sunbeam Television Corp
7 Bulfinch Place
Boston, MA 02114

News Tips: (800) 280-TIPS
Tell Hank: (855) 247-HANK
Corporate Media Services: (800) 642-1551

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WHDH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.