General Motors’ Ignition Failure Hearing

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On April 1st, 2014 in Washington D.C., General Motors (GM) Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra testified in front of a panel of senators regarding the company’s late delay in addressing a defect in ignition switches, causing cars to lose power and injuring or killing the drivers. While GM has issued a recall on cars that are known to have this defective product, the problem lies in the delay of action on the part of GM, who are accused of knowing about the defect as early as 2001. One of the many problems during the hearing is the emergence GM not only knowing about the defective ignition switch, but they also switched the defective product for a working one, yet still kept the same product number. In addition, during Senator Boxer’s questioning, she revealed that GM made a decision not to fix the defective product due to GM claiming that it “was not an effective business decision” due to the high cost of fixing the problem and the length of time it would take. Senator Nelson also brought up the issue of how people would be able to drive cars that are known to have the defects, citing that customers deserve compensation in a quick and effective process and are not satisfied with GM’s solution of driving “with only the car key in the ignition”. Throughout the hearing, CEO Mary Barra states that the mistakes of the “old GM (pre-bankruptcy)” are not the fault of the “new GM (post-bankruptcy)”, she pledges to fix the situation, starting with the new position of Vice President
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