A document released Friday by a congressional subcommittee confirms that a General Motors engineer, Ray DeGiorgio, agreed to redesign the faulty ignition switch found in 2.6 million of the automaker’s small cars without changing the part number, Automotive News reports.
The document, which was originally created by the ignition switches’ supplier, Delphi Corp., indicates that DeGiorgio was not entirely truthful when he testified in April 2013 that he was unaware of the change during a deposition for a wrongful death lawsuit. Portions of the deposition were released publicly for the first time Friday. They show DeGiorgio said the switch was originally designed to be turned easily. This was done in response to complaints that previous vehicles had “cheap feeling” ignitions.
“The intent was to make the transition to go from run to off with relative ease,” DeGiorgio said in the deposition.
Due to the fact that the part number did not change, regulators from the NHTSA and GM officials did not notice the redesign of the ignition switch until October of 2013. This has led some to accuse GM of attempting to cover up the defect.
“There is no reason to keep the same part number unless you’re trying to hide the fact that you’ve got a defective switch out there that in fact ended up killing a number of people on our highways,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said in an interview with ABC News earlier this month.
GM CEO Mary Barra announced Thursday that the company had suspended two of their engineers after they had completed an internal investigation of the recall. They were identified as Ray DiGiorgio and Gary Altman, who declined to approve proposed solutions to stalling complaints in the vehicles, the documents revealed.
During congressional hearings in relation to the recall, senators accused DeGiorgio of lying under oath. Barra said “the data that’s been put in front of me indicates that ,” but she waited until the conclusion of the internal investigation to be sure.
So far, GM has not named anyone else as being responsible for faulty ignition switch. DeGiorgio or any others related to the recall have not been available for an interview.