GM Report: Numerous Failures Led to Tragic Results


In early June, independent counsel hired by General Motors (GM) delivered a long-awaited investigative report on the deadly ignition switch defect that devastated lives and families across the United States.

As expected, the report by former federal prosecutor Anton R. Valukas did not find evidence of an intentional corporate cover-up, or even the involvement of current GM CEO Mary Barra.

Instead the failure of the company was detailed in comments from the report such as the following:

  • “A GM engineer chose to use an ignition switch…so far below GM’s own specifications that it failed to keep the car powered on…”

  • “The failure of the switch meant that drivers were without airbag protection at the time they needed it most. This failure, combined with others…led to devastating consequences.”

  • “A critical factor in GM personnel’s initial delay in fixing the switch was their failure to understand, quite simply, how the car was built.”

  • “Through the 11 year period after the defect was discovered, GM ‘demonstrated no sense of urgency, right to the end.’”

Despite the due diligence apparent in the report, its delivery did not dim the uproar about the deadly nature of corporate behavior at GM.

Incompetence detailed in the evaluation supports legal claims for injury compensation already filed, or still to be filed, against GM. Hundreds of people were injured and 13 killed by the defective ignition switch. Those numbers are expected to rise with further investigation.

In a Consent Order signed by GM in May, the company agreed to pay a $35 million fine for failure to report the defect to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in a timely manner.

This disturbing and deadly defect story is far from over.


Topics:  Automobile Recall, General Motors, NHTSA

Published In: Products Liability Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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