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>>

  • With GOP runoff over, Perdue and Nunn face off

    With GOP runoff over, Perdue and Nunn face off

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:44 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:44:24 GMT
    Now that Georgia Republicans have settled on businessman David Perdue as their nominee for the state's open Senate seat, the real battle begins with a marquee match-up in the fall against Democrat Michelle Nunn...[more]
    Within hours of David Perdue's GOP Senate nomination, he and Democrat Michelle Nunn launched the real battle for Georgia's open Senate seat with attack ads in a matchup that could help settle control of the Senate.[more]
  • Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life

    Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:43 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:43:48 GMT
    After two days of jury selection, lawyers are poised to give opening statements in the trial of a Detroit-area man who opened his front door and shot an unarmed woman, killing her.[more]
    A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch was rocked out of sleep by a series of "boom, boom, boom" pounding sounds outside his home, causing him to grab a shotgun, open the front door and fire, a...[more]
  • Malaysia jet victims' bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Malaysia jet victims' bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:42 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:42:03 GMT
    Ukraine is preparing a departure ceremony for the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines disaster, which are being flown to the Netherlands.[more]
    Two planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine's restive east...[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.