General Motors is slowly, but surely, beginning to unstitch the scarlet letter attached to its name following the massive ignition-switch recall, plaguing millions of GM vehicles. This is apparent after James Bell, GM Head of Consumer Affairs, sat down with The Buffalo News before speaking at GM’s Tonawanda Engine facility.
“We have a term inside the company: we’re draining the swamp,” Bell said. “Just cleaning out the problem, dredging and clearing, and starting fresh. General Motors has been on that track for some time.”
Under CEO Mary Barra, GM has removed employees tied to the ignition-switch scandal, and set up a positive working environment, which includes the “Speak Up For Safety” program, launched in 2014. The program encourages employees to voice their opinions on safety, and rewards them for catching safety glitches before product reaches consumers.
“We have a whole new system in place that says, ‘Look we want to know, no retribution, you wouldn’t be reassigned or anything dire,’ ” Bell said. “We want to know what things are, so we can solve it well before it becomes anything that makes it out to a consumer.”
All of these attributes work to create the automaker’s self-described culture change, and Bell made it clear GM is looking at the future through a fresh pair of eyes.