In the continuing serial on the General Motors ignition switch recall, there is a new actor in the play: Delphi Automotive. As the supplier of the ignition switches, Delphi has managed to avoid the consternation in the media that GM has received.
But now congressional investigators have met with officials from Delphi, who claim that “GM accepted the switches now under recall despite knowing they did not meet the company’s specifications.” They say GM signed off on a “Production Part Approval Process” document in 2002 even though the sample switch didn’t meet GM’s specifications. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the admission is raising questions why GM and federal regulators waited so long to act on this problem.
This memo from investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which includes the Oversights and Investigations sub-committee, comes as General Motors CEO Mary Barra prepares to testify before Congress tomorrow in Washington. Greg Martin, a spokesman for GM, said the company is cooperating fully with congressional investigators to ensure they have a “full understanding” of GM’s decisions.
The committee has collected more than a quarter of a million pages of documents from General Motors, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and Delphi and Continential, the two suppliers who manufactured the ignition switch and air bag sensors, respectively.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who chairs the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said the information collected through documents and briefings “paints an unsettling picture,” despite NHTSA earlier determining there was no trend with accidents involving the affected cars and deciding against more scrutiny. David Friedman, NHTSA’s acting administrator, also will be questioned this week by Congress about the recall and why it took so long.