The GM recall of 1.9 million vehicles last January continues raising questions. The newest piece of information to come out of this ongoing saga is that GM actually placed a huge, ‘rush’ order for 500,000 ignition parts a full six weeks before they actually began the recall. If you think this appears to be a very strange order, then you are certainly not alone, as the auto maker has come under heavy fire and increasing investigation over how they handled this recall.
At Least 32 Have Died Due to Faulty GM Ignitions
The faulty ignition parts have now been linked to 32 deaths and 31 injuries. The thinking is that even if a faster recall might not have prevented people from getting hurt, they certainly would at least show GM was concerned with treating safety issues properly. But when such a huge order is simply dropped in the lap of a supplier without this excess capacity, it can be a huge problem.
The request, or order, also indicates GM probably knew there was a problem that needed to be dealt with. Sadly, they still waited six weeks before even beginning to issue a recall, which was later expanded further to include 1.9 million vehicles such as older Chevrolet Cobalts.
The public might never have known about this if it weren’t for Texas lawyer Robert Hilliard, who argued the court should not allow these documents to be kept secret. These newly released emails, all 36 pages of them, shows a number of failings in GM’s processes and procedures. At the very least, the company was not as aggressive and persistent as they should have been in prosecuting this recall and warning vehicle owners.
The 500K Ignition Order Was Strange to the Supplier
Per these email and voice message recordings, the supplier also seemed to be wary of this order, since it was so large and out of character for GM. They even asked the car maker to verify this would be a ‘firm order,’ since it would represent a ‘huge increase in production’ for the supplier.
The official recall didn’t happen until the middle of February, being reported to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration on the 13th. Even then, GM still had another 60 days to notify all vehicle owners. The emails indicate there were 778,562 vehicles potentially involved in this recall and safety effort. Later, additional vehicle models were added to the recall list, with a total of 1.37 million being in the US.
The Delayed Announcement Cost Lives
This delay and time gap is completely irresponsible for any business that claims to have the public interest and safety at heart. Hilliard even claims there have been at least 85 people injured and one person killed due to these faulty switches during the time GM was delaying and trying to build up their stock of new ignition parts.
Obviously, GM knew they had a problem. Yet, rather than being truthful and announcing this situation to the public, they chose to hide and try to handle things quietly. In the meantime others were hurt and possibly even killed. Investigators need to get to the bottom of this and GM needs to be forced to rethink and retool their faulty procedures that led to such a breakdown in safety protocols.
If you have any questions about the General Motors recalls, you can visit their official recall website.