In a development that may be of interest to Minnesota residents who own General Motors vehicles, new emails have surfaced that show the Detroit automaker was ordering parts to fix its faulty ignition switch in December 2013, nearly two months before it publicly announced the part’s recall. The newly uncovered emails detail GM’s efforts to quickly obtain at least 500,000 replacement switches from Delphi Automotive weeks before it officially recalled the ignitions, which have been linked to 32 fatalities. This could be significant because federal law requires automakers to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of safety defects within five days. GM announced the recall on Jan. 31, 2014, and notified the NHTSA on Feb. 7.
The emails were not included in the 315-page report on GM’s handling of the recall issued on June 5. The emails were confidential testimony recently unsealed at the request of a Texas attorney who has filed a lawsuit against the carmaker on behalf of consumers who own GM vehicles with the defective switches.
A U.S. attorney issued a statement on Nov. 11 saying that the new information did not change the conclusions reached in his report, which outlined individual, policy and management failures throughout GM’s corporate structure. In its own defense, GM said it had not yet decided to recall the switches in December, but it was giving Delphi necessary production lead time while the decision was being made. The Texas attorney, however, said GM’s delay in notifying the public endangered consumers.
Drivers who have been injured due to automotive defects such as faulty ignition switches or defective seat belts may wish to meet with an attorney. By reviewing police reports and other evidence, an attorney might be able to recommend the best course of legal action.
Source: Insurance Journal, “GM Emails Show Ignition Switch Fix Began 2 Months Before Recall“, David Welch, November 12, 2014