- CEO MARY BARRA’S WRITTEN CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY
- GM MOVES TO SECURE RECALLED IGNITION SWITCHES
- GM RECALLS OLDER MODEL VEHICLES TO FIX POWER STEERING
GM CEO MARY BARRA’S WRITTEN CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY
WASHINGTON D.C. – GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra’s written testimony was submitted today to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Her testimony addresses the GM Ignition Switch Recall and answers the question: “Why Did It Take So Long?” Barra is scheduled to give oral testimony on Capitol Hill tomorrow afternoon, April 1 and on April 2.
Written Testimony of General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra Before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations “The GM Ignition Switch Recall: Why Did It Take So Long?” April 1, 2014
Chairmen Murphy and Upton, Ranking Members DeGette and Waxman, members of the committee…
My name is Mary Barra, and I am the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors.
I appreciate the opportunity to be here today.
More than a decade ago, GM embarked on a small car program. Sitting here today, I cannot tell you why it took years for a safety defect to be announced in that program, but I can tell you that we will find out.
When we have answers, we will be fully transparent with you, with our regulators, and with our customers.
As soon as l learned about the problem, we acted without hesitation. We told the world we had a problem that needed to be fixed. We did so because whatever mistakes were made in the past, we will not shirk from our responsibilities now and in the future. Today’s GM will do the right thing.
That begins with my sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected by this recall…especially to the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured. I am deeply sorry.
I’ve asked former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas to conduct a thorough and unimpeded investigation of the actions of General Motors. He has free rein to go where the facts take him, regardless of the outcome. The facts will be the facts. Once they are in, my management team and I will use his findings to help assure this does not happen again. We will hold ourselves fully accountable.
However, I want to stress that I’m not waiting for his results to make changes.
I’ve named a new vice president for Global Vehicle Safety, Jeff Boyer (announcement is included below). This is a first for GM. Jeff’s first priority is to quickly identify and resolve any and all product safety issues. He is not taking on this task alone. I stand with him. My senior management team stands with him. And we will welcome input from outside GM — from you, from NHTSA, from Mr. Valukas’ findings, from our customers, from our dealers, and from our current and former employees.
This latest round of recalls demonstrates just how serious we are about the way we will do things at the new GM. We identified these issues. We brought them forward and we are fixing them. I have asked our team to keep stressing the system at GM and work with one thing in mind — our customers and their safety are at the center of everything we do.
Our customers who have been affected by this recall are getting our full and undivided attention.
We’re talking directly to them through a dedicated website, with constantly updated information, and through social media platforms. We’ve trained and assigned more people to our customer call centers, and wait times are down to seconds. And, of course, we’re sending customers written information through the mail.
We’ve empowered our dealers to take extraordinary measures and to treat each case specifically—and they are doing a great job taking care of our customers. Here’s what we are doing with our dealers: if people do not want to drive a recalled vehicle before it is repaired, dealers can provide them a loaner or rental car — free of charge. If a customer is already looking for another car, dealers can provide an additional cash allowance for the purchase or lease of a new vehicle.
Our supplier is manufacturing new replacement parts for the vehicles that are no longer in production. We have commissioned two and asked for a third production line, and those parts will start to be delivered to dealers as soon as possible.
These measures are only the first in making things right and rebuilding trust with our customers. As I’ve reminded our employees, getting the cars repaired is only the first step. Giving customers the best support possible throughout this process is how we will be judged.
I would like this committee to know that all of our GM employees and I are determined to set a new standard. And I am encouraged to say that everyone at GM—up to and including our Board of Directors—supports this.
I’m a second-generation GM employee and I’m here as the CEO, but I’m also here representing the men and women who are part of today’s GM and are dedicated to putting the highest-quality and safest vehicles on the road.
I recently held a town hall meeting to formally introduce our new VP of global vehicle safety to the company. We met at our Technical Center, one of the places where the men and women who engineer our vehicles work. They are the brains behind our cars, but they are also the heart of GM.
It was a tough meeting. Like me, they are disappointed and upset. I could see it in their faces, and could hear it in their voices. They had many of the same questions that I suspect are on your minds. They want to make things better for our customers, and in the process, make GM better.
That’s what I’m committed to doing.
I would now be happy to answer your questions.
GM MOVES TO SECURE RECALLED IGNITION SWITCHES
- 824,000 models sold in the U.S. from 2008-2011 will get new ignition switch
- Parts return sought from aftermarket distributors
DETROIT – General Motors today said it will replace the ignition switch in all model years of its Chevrolet Cobalt, HHR, Pontiac G5, Solstice and Saturn Ion and Sky in the U.S. since faulty switches may have been used to repair the vehicles.
The parts are at the center of the company’s recently announced ignition switch recall, which originally extended through the 2007 model year. About 95,000 faulty switches were sold to dealers and aftermarket wholesalers. Of those, about 90,000 were used to repair older vehicles that were repaired before they were recalled in February.
Because it is not feasible to track down all the parts, the company is taking the extraordinary step of recalling 824,000 more vehicles in the U.S. to ensure that every car has a current ignition switch. GM is unaware of any reports of fatalities with this group of vehicles where a frontal impact occurred, the front air bags did not deploy and the ignition is in the “accessory” or “off” position.
As with the earlier recalls, if the torque performance is not to GM specification, the ignition switch may unintentionally move from the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” positions, leading to a loss of power. The risk may be increased if the key ring is carrying added weight or if the vehicle goes off road or experiences some jarring event. The timing of the key movement out of the “run” position relative to when the sensing algorithm of a crash may result in the air bags not deploying, increasing the potential for occupant injury in certain kinds of crashes.
Until the recall has been performed, customers are urged to remove all items, including the key fob, from their key rings, leaving only the vehicle key.
“We are taking no chances with safety,” said GM CEO Mary Barra. “Trying to locate several thousand switches in a population of 2.2 million vehicles and distributed to thousands of retailers isn’t practical. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling the rest of the model years.
“We are going to provide our customers with the peace of mind they deserve and expect by getting the new switches into all the vehicles,” Barra said.
GM records indicate the service parts may have been used for ignition repairs in:
- 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalts
- 2008-2011 Chevrolet HHRs
- 2008-2010 Pontiac Solstice
- 2008-2010 Pontiac G5 and
- 2008-2010 Saturn Sky
Owners who may have had a suspect part installed will receive a letter the week of April 21. GM dealers will replace their ignition switch free of charge as parts become available. Customers who paid to have their ignition switches replaced will be eligible for reimbursement.
Dealers, distributors and other parts customers will be told about the recall beginning March 31.
Information on the ignition switch recall is available www.gmignitionupdate.com
GM RECALLS OLDER MODEL VEHICLES TO FIX POWER STEERING
DETROIT – General Motors informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today that it would recall more than 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. that may experience a sudden loss of electric power steering assist.
If power steering assist is lost, a message displays on the Driver Information Center and a chime sounds to inform the driver. Steering control can be maintained because the vehicle will revert to manual steering, but greater driver effort would be required at low vehicle speeds, which could increase the risk of a crash.
Models subject to safety recall are the:
- Chevrolet Malibu: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles
- Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some 2006 model year
- Chevrolet HHR (Non-Turbo): Some model year 2009 and 2010 vehicles
- Chevrolet Cobalt: Some model year 2010 vehicles
- Saturn Aura: Some model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles
- Saturn ION: All model year 2004 to 2007 vehicles
- Pontiac G6: All model year 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles
- Service parts installed into certain vehicles before May 31, 2010 under a previous safety recall
Depending on the vehicle, GM will replace free of charge either the power steering motor, the steering column, the power steering motor control unit or a combination of the steering column and the power steering motor control unit. Customers who previously paid for repairs of these parts would be eligible for reimbursement.
In addition, 309,160 non-turbocharged Chevrolet HHRs from the 2006-2008 model years (and several hundred 2009 models) and 96,324 Saturn IONs from the 2003 model year that are not subject to these recalls will be given lifetime warranties for replacement of the electronic power steering motor.
“With these safety recalls and lifetime warranties, we are going after every car that might have this problem, and we are going to make it right,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president, GM Global Vehicle Safety. “We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough.”
The 2004-2007 Saturn ION, the 2009-2010 Chevrolet HHR and the 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt are included in previously announced recalls for ignition switches that may not meet GM specification for torque performance. Repairs for the ignition switch and power steering assist may require separate dealership visits depending on parts availability.
GM expects to take a charge of up to approximately $750 million in the first quarter, primarily for the cost of recall-related repairs announced in the quarter. This amount includes a previously disclosed $300 million charge for three safety actions announced on March 17 and the ignition switch recall announced Feb. 25.