6.05.2014

GM: a pattern of "incompetence and neglect"



GM fires 15 people following ignition switch investigation

Excerpt:

General Motors said a pattern of "incompetence and neglect" led to a decade-long defect in an ignition switch that has killed at least 13 people, and probably more. On Thursday morning, CEO Mary Barra said she had reviewed an internal report on the safety crisis compiled by an outside investigator, former US Attorney Anton Valukas, and that the company had taken aggressive action to fix problems and ensure such a pattern never occurs again. General Motors said it has fired 15 employees related to those series of failures unearthed by Valukas during his investigation and disciplined five more. At least half the employees dismissed were executives, Barra said.
Comment: Was this automaker worth saving? U.S. government says it lost $11.2 billion on GM bailout

1 comment:

  1. Much more: Engineer's 'switch from hell' began GM recall woes

    The switch had mechanical problems, too. It didn't meet GM's specifications for the force required to rotate it. But increasing the force would have required more changes. So in 2002, DeGiorgio — who made several critical decisions in this case — approved the switch anyway. He signed an email to the switch supplier, "Ray (tired of the switch from hell) DeGiorgio."

    Almost immediately, GM started getting complaints of unexpected stalling from drivers of the Saturn Ion, the first car equipped with the switch. The complaints continued when the switch was used for the Cobalt, which went on sale in 2004. Yet it wasn't seen as a safety issue. Even if the engine stalled and the power steering went out, engineers reasoned, drivers could still wrestle the cars to the side of the road.

    As more complaints came in, GM kept viewing the problem as "annoying but not particularly problematic," Valukas wrote. "Once so defined, the switch problem received less attention, and efforts to fix it were impacted by cost considerations that would have been immaterial had the problem been properly categorized in the first instance," his report said.

    In a critical failure to link cause and effect — and one that Valukas references often in his report — engineers trying to diagnose the problem didn't understand that the air bags wouldn't inflate in a crash if the engines stalled, failing to protect people when they needed it most.

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