Texas attorney Rob Hilliard has shed light on some new evidence further damning General Motors on what appears to be a failure to comply with NHTSA procedure with regard to their faulty ignition switch.
According to a story by Automotive News, Hilliard – who is suing the automaker on some consumers’ behalf – obtained this evidence as part of a confidential testimony that he requested unsealed. The emails were not in the original investigative report compiled by former US Attorney Anton Valukas.
The emails principally show that one General Motors contractor emailed parts supplier Delphi Automotive on December 19th to request 500,000 replacement ignition switches “ASAP,” long before a safety defect was reported to NHTSA, or an official recall issued.
The NHTSA requires all safety-related defects and problems to be reported within five days of any automaker becoming aware. The uncovered emails suggest that General Motors hadn’t recognized a safety defect, even after ordering 500,000 replacement ignition switches.
But possibly more damning than the evidence itself is the question raised of whether or not former US Attorney Valukas – who filed the original investigative report – was given all the information by General Motors. Valukas remarked that the additional email evidence doesn’t impact his original conclusion, that there were “failures throughout the company — including individual errors, poor management, byzantine committee structures, lack of training and inadequate policies.”
But while none of the emails uncovered are to or from upper-level management, still there is one lingering question: Did mid-level management honestly fail to take this safety concern through the proper channels? Or is General Motors’ current upper-level management claiming ignorance to avoid implication? Below is the official GM statement on the matter:
These emails are further confirmation that our system needed reform, and we have done so. We have reorganized our entire safety investigation and decision process and have more investigators, move issues more quickly and make decisions with better data.
How it works today:
Potential issue review with appropriate data to determine whether further investigation is warranted.
Open investigation review recommends for or against a recall or other field action
A group of senior leaders quickly decides whether or not a recall is warranted