Update: 6/17/2014–2:01 p.m.
General Motors has issued a new round of vehicle recalls affecting 3.16 million cars across the country. These vehicles contain a defect in the ignition switch and key, which GM believes is not related to the defects causing previous recalls.
Update: 5/21/2014–12:15 p.m.
New court documents released as part of General Motors’ civil settlement with the Department of Transportation indicate that the company went to great lengths to train its employees not to use words which could indicate liability or responsibility for defective parts.
Update: 5/20/2014–3:45 p.m.
Documents were filed by General Motors a U.S. Bankruptcy Court claiming that the automaker is facing 79 lawsuits by consumers after which demand as much as $10 billion. GM is in bankruptcy court asking a federal judge to determine whether or not it is liable for claims related to its defective ignition switches which occurred prior to the company’s 2009 bankruptcy case.
Later this month, a panel of bankruptcy judges will determine if all of the GM defect claims should be consolidated into one case, and if so, which federal court should hear it.
Update: 5/19/2014–8:49 a.m.
On Friday, General Motors settled its dispute with the Department of Transportation over its faulty ignition switches, and agreed to pay the government a $35 million fine. Despite this fine, GM continues to deny in court documents that it fraudulently concealed defects in the switches. CEO Mary Barra stated after the decision was entered that she believes the company has learned from its mistakes, and hopes that GM will become a leader in consumer safety.
Update: 5/16/2014–10:37 a.m.
A new recall has been issued by General Motors affecting 2.7 million vehicles, which brings the total to 12.8 million vehicles recalled by the automaker this year worldwide. 2.4 million of these vehicles are midsize cars with faulty wiring in the brake lights which could also disable certain safety features.
The Department of Transportation also announced today that GM will face a $35 million fine for its failure to issue a timely recall regarding its defective ignition switches. While $35 million represents a very small fraction of GM’s annual profit, NBC News reports that it is the largest fine ever assessed by the DOT.
Update: 5/12/2014 — 4:46 p.m.
A Georgia attorney is asking that a wrongful death case against General Motors be reopened after a settlement was reached, according to a Bloomberg report. The attorney claims that a GM engineer lied under oath when he denied having knowledge of a defect in the company’s ignition switch. In light of recent news and filings, the attorney is seeking to have the case reopened on the basis of fraud.
Update: 4/24/2014 — 11:25 a.m.
Major news outlets have reported that General Motors Co. chose not to use a more robust ignition-switch part in many of its recalled vehicles while they were being designed. Safety experts and many plaintiffs in lawsuits related to defective ignition switches have seized upon these reports as proof that the GM was more concerned with cost than consumer safety.
Many products liability attorneys, however, do not believe that these reports alone will automatically condemn GM in subsequent legal proceedings. Other evidence from the automaker shows that GM engineers found no solutions which would effectively stop the ignition key from slipping and shutting off a vehicle’s engine while driving.
Without definitive evidence showing that GM had a solution to the problem but chose not to implement it, such as records of internal GM communications, a routine cost-benefit analysis will likely not harm the company in court.
UPDATE: 4/22/2014 — 12:50 p.m.
A California lawsuit against GM over the ignition switch defect (which is linked to 13 deaths) has been put on hold. According to Bloomberg, a federal judge put the suit on hold until a New York bankruptcy court can rule on whether some claims for compensation may be brought forward; a determination is necessary as these claims may be in violation of a court order related to GM’s reorganization in 2009.
UPDATE: 4/18/2014 — 5:32 p.m.
Multiple civil lawsuits filed by victims of General Motors’ defective ignition switch are facing an uncertain future after the automaker challenged them in several federal courts. Legal counsel for GM has asked judges in these cases to block litigation until a bankruptcy judge can determine if the lawsuits violate established bankruptcy law.
Attorneys for the victims argue that the auto manufacturer’s 2009 bankruptcy case is irrelevant to current lawsuits and stressed that public safety should be put first. It is not known when a judge will rule on either argument.
UPDATE: 4/16/2014 — 4:28 p.m.
General Motors rejected an alternative ignition switch for cost reasons, according to a letter sent to GM’s CEO Mary Barra today by Joan Claybrook, the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. GM designed the alternative switch in 2001 to be used in the Saturn Ion.
“General Motors picked a smaller and cheaper ignition switch that cost consumers their lives,” Claybrook and Ditlow said. “Who inside GM made these decisions and at what level?”
UPDATE: 4/9/2014 — 10:01 a.m.
The Chief Counsel for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a letter sent to General Motors on April 8, which states that GM is in violation of the NHTSA’s Special Order demanding answers to 107 questions regarding the defective ignition switch recalls.
On the April 3 deadline, General Motors filed over 200,000 pages of documents in response to the NHTSA’s order. The NHTSA reviewed GM’s response, and determined that GM failed to answer almost a third of the 107 questions.
General Motors released a statement claiming that it is has attempted to comply with the NHTSA’s order, and blamed its inability to fully respond on a pending internal investigation. The letter from the NHTSA does not accept this explanation, and demanded a fine of $7,000 per day until GM’s response has been supplemented. If General Motors fails to provide the additional information, the NHTSA may report GM’s conduct to the Justice Department and request official sanctions.
UPDATE: 4/4/2014 — 11:48 a.m.
Lawyers who are suing General Motors Co. have put in a request with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Washington to consolidate the lawsuits filed due to the faulty ignition switch.
With more than three million vehicles recalled, it is likely that the situation will result in a high volume of lawsuits filed in multiple jurisdictions. Currently, 15 lawsuits have been filed in federal courts by consumers who seek to represent other GM customers in class-action cases.
One lawyer is asking the judge to order General Motors to issue a “Park It Now” order which would urge owners to not drive their recalled vehicle until it has been repaired. The request also asks that GM pay for rental cars or provide loaner vehicles for all affected GM vehicle drivers
UPDATE: 4/2/14 – 9:17 a.m.
On her second day before Congress, General Motors CEO Mary Barra deflects numerous questions from a frustrated panel.
Barra announces in her opening statement that GM has hired a lawyer to, “explore and evaluate options in its response to families of accident victims.”
Many feel she is not still not providing adequate answers. Barra claims senior executives only learned of the issue on Jan. 31, 2014.
The panel confronts Barra with the estimate that a replacement part for the defective ignition switch would have only cost the company 57 cents per car. The panel believes that GM decided not to replace the part due to its “cost culture.”
UPDATE: 4/1/14 – 1:34 p.m.
House Energy and Commerce Congressional Committee hears GM CEO Mary Barra’s testimony about GM’s prior knowledge of the defective part. Documents show the company was aware of it 10 years before issuing a recall.
Barra was pressed about the ignition switch design change made in 2006. A GM engineer, Ray DeGiorgio, claimed under oath in 2013 that he did not know of any design change. However, documents were discovered showing that DeGiorgio had signed off on the change himself.
“He lied.” Barra said simply of DeGiorgio’s statement.
UPDATE: 4/1/14 – 5:32 p.m.
Another recall is issued: 490,000 Chevrolet Silverado 1550s, GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks, model year 2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs, 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe vehicles may have faulty transmission oil cooler lines.
UPDATE: 3/31/14 – 10:14 a.m.
GM recalls more vehicles for defects with their turbocharged engines: 174,046 model year 2013-14 Chevrolet Cruze vans.
UPDATE: 3/31/14 – 9:28 a.m.
GM recalls 1.3 million vehicles for power steering issues: 2009-10 Chevrolet HHR hatchback (non-turbo models,) 2008-09 versions of the Saturn Aura sedan, 2004-06 and 2008-09 Chevrolet Malibu sedans, 2004-06 Malibu Maxx wagons, 2005-09 versions of the Pontiac G6, 2004-07 versions of the Saturn Ion coupe and sedan and 2010 versions of the Cobalt coupe and sedan.
GM reports that, prior to a May 2010 recall, certain vehicles equipped with related service parts may also be affected.
UPDATE: 3/28/14 – 12:12 p.m.
GM recalls an additional 656 vehicles: 2014 Cadillac ELR luxury coupes for electronic stability control issues.
UPDATE: 3/27/14 – 3:05 p.m.
Certain 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Skys, and Pontiac G5s and Solstices, as well as 2008-2011 Chevrolet HHR vehicles may have received defective ignition switches.
GM notifies the NHTSA of this possibility.
UPDATE: 3/21/14 – 12:22 p.m.
Another recall has been announced for faulty transmission switch cables: 2014 Buick Regals, LaCrosses and Verano sedans and Enclave crossovers, 2014 GMC Acadia and Traverse crossovers, 2014 Chevrolet Malibus and Cruze sedans.
UPDATE: 3/17/14 – 9:25 a.m.
The following vehicles have been officially recalled by GM: 2008-13 GMC Acadia models, 2008-13 Buick Enclave, 2008-10 Saturn Outlook, 2009-14 GMC Savana, 2009-13 Chevrolet Traverse, 2009-14 Chevrolet Express and the 2013-14 Cadillac XTS. These vehicles may have problems with brakes, side-impact airbags and not be in compliance with head injury crash standards.
GM CEO Mary Barra says consumers will be given more information about the repairs and replacement parts that will be available by mid-April.
UPDATE: 3/13/14 – 7:25 p.m.
GM says the investigation into what caused the defect and the impact of the recall is “ongoing.”
Reuters reports The Center for Auto Safety says it used numbers from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to estimate that 303 deaths have resulted from air bag non-deployment in the 1.6 million vehicles that GM has recalled.
UPDATE: 3/12/14 – 12:21 p.m.
GM confesses it was aware of an ignition switch defect as long ago as 2001.
GM says that when the Saturn Ion was in development in 2001 it was aware of a problem with the switch. The company explained that a heavy key chain could cause it to turn to the “off” position. The company reports that they redesigned the switch to correct the problem. The design change was made in 2006 and signed off on by GM engineer Ray DeGiorgio. At the time, GM did not report this issue to the NHTSA.
Now, 13 deaths are associated with the defect.
UPDATE: 2/25/14 – 6:23 p.m.
GM expands the ignition switch recall to include an additional 748,024 models. These vehicles include the 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR and Pontiac Solstices, 2003-07 Saturn Ions, and 2007 Saturn Sky.
INITIAL RECALL: 2/13/14 – 4:05 p.m.
GM issues an official recall of 778,562 vehicles for flawed ignition switches would could cause the vehicle’s electrical components to fail. 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5 compact cars are affected.
The company acknowledges six deaths and 17 injuries associated with failing air bags in these models.