Close your eyes and pick a number between 13 and 500. Got it? Okay, now go before Congress and tell them how many deaths were caused by a defective ignition switch in your vehicles.
I don’t envy Mary Barra. In a few short months, she went from newly minted General Motors CEO and media darling to the impossible position described above. She has been forced to order the recall of at least 2.6 million vehicles for the ignition switch problem and, weeks later, another 1.5 million units that could suffer a loss of power steering.
Worse yet, we don’t really know how many ignitions switched to the ACC position and disabled the airbags in vehicles that crashed. The manufacturer has linked 13 fatalities to the defect. The Center for Auto Safety, a public interest group started by Ralph Nader and the Consumers Union, puts the count at more than 300 people based on federal data.
So, yeah, GM is facing a lot of heat over this. But where was the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the last 13 years? According to a report in The Detroit News, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is asking the same question. He has directed the NHTSA and the department’s Office of General Counsel to conduct an internal review of the agency’s handling of the recall. He did the same after Toyota’s faulty accelerator pedal recall.
Read the whole article in Auto Dealer Monthly here.