U.S. House Committee Will Probe GM Ignition Recall Blunder – Saga Grows
The ongoing saga of GM’s failure to report a recall in a timely manner has now gotten the attention of a U.S. House committee. The committee said late Monday, March 10, 2014 that it will hold an investigation and have hearings on the issue. It plans on calling both GM and NHTSA officials to testify.
A subcommittee of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee will lead the investigation and hold the hearings as part of the government’s probe. The plan is to better determine who laws Congress has passed over the years to prevent recall blunders failed. “Did the company or regulators miss something that could have flagged these problems sooner? If the answer is yes, we must learn how and why this happened, and then determine whether this system of reporting and analyzing complaints that Congress created to save lives is being implemented and working as the law intended,” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the committee, said in a statement Monday. The U.S. Senate may get involved as well with Jay Rockefeller, D- W. Va. calling for a subcommittee hearing. As part of the probe, the committee will look at how the Tread Act was not properly followed. The act requires automakers to report complaints of defects in a timely manner to the NHTSA. Also, it makes it easier to identify and track automotive safety defects. The Tread Act, sponsored by Upton, was passed in response to a 2000 subcommittee that investigated the rollovers of Ford Explorers equipped with Firestone tires. That problem was linked to 271 deaths and had years of complaints before it was addressed. It lead to multiple lawsuits, a massive recall from Firestone, was one of the leading reasons for the closing of the Firestone plant in Decatur, Illinois and lead Bridgestone/Firestone to announce an end to a 100-year partnership with Ford. “Here we are over a decade later, faced with accidents and tragedies, and significant questions need to be answered,” Upton said in a statement. “Did the company or regulators miss something that could have flagged these problems sooner? Americans deserve to have the peace of mind that they are safe behind the wheel.” Also, GM has announced they have hired Jenner and Block Chairman Anton Valukas to help lead an internal probe of the handling of the recall. Valukas served as U.S. Justice Department-appointed examiner of the downfall of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Valukas will work with GM’s general counsel Michael Millikin and attorneys from the law firm King & Spalding according to a statement. It was also revealed that the NHTSA could also seek criminal charges against GM. GM’s new CEO Mary Barra is reportedly working non-stop on this issue along with long-time GM executive Mark Reuss, Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. They see this recall as a key early test of the “new” GM and Barra’s leadership and legacy. Another developing story from this recall deals with the legal issues around GM’s bankruptcy. There has been some speculation that GM may not be “legally” responsible for the recall mishap post bankruptcy. For GM, this recall is certainly a big black eye. We will keep you informed as the saga continues. Related Post:
Filed Under: Auto News