Criminal Charges May Come Soon for GM over Ignition Switches

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  1. Carnage

    Carnage SRT Hellcat Supercharged Moderator Staff Member Hellcat Car Club Gold Supporting Member HCC Charter Member

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    Criminal Charges May Come Soon for GM over Ignition Switches

    Even after a death toll from crashes related to faulty ignition switches that now totals more than 100, 2.6 million cars recalled, a $35 million civil fine, and hundreds of millions of dollars set aside to pay victims’ claims, it appears the news for General Motors regarding its defective ignition switches is about to get worse. A report in the Wall Street Journal says that federal prosecutors are close to issuing criminal charges in the matter.The ignition switches, which were used in the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice, and 2007-2010 Saturn Sky, have a weak spring that can allow a heavy keychain to move the switch out of the “run” position, turning off the engine, resulting in a loss of power steering and brakes, the shutting off of safety systems such as the airbags, and possibly a crash.

    An internal investigation revealed that engineers knew of the problem but approved the design anyway, then later redesigned the switch to fix it but did not assign a new part number to the altered switch as required. They also lied about and covered up their actions. GM CEO Mary Barra fired 15 employees over the matter. But the company also has been criticized for taking years to act on the complaints, which it had received both from owners and from NHTSA.

    The U.S. Justice Department’s criminal investigation, headed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has been underway for more than a year. The question is whether it will prosecute individual employees for wrongdoing—which would be unusual—or just the company itself. In a statement released today, GM said it was “cooperating fully with all requests,” but had no further comment.

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