U.S. lawmakers are accusing automaker General Motors of a “disturbing pattern” of neglecting safety after emails from 2005 have surfaced showing that an employee had warned that a big recall might be necessary to fix the ignition switch problems, CNBC reports.
These safety defects, which were not made public until January 2014, have been linked to 13 deaths.
It was not until this year that GM issued that big recall, which apparently should have been issued 10 years ago.
2005 Email Warned about Safety Defect
General Motors issued 44 recalls this year including one for the ignition problems.
So far, the automaker has recalled 20 million vehicles mostly in the United States of which nearly 6.5 million were recalled for ignition switch-related issues.
In the email made public this week, GM employee Laura Andres wrote to engineers warning that a 2006 Chevy Impala Special car she was driving had experienced an engine stall when moving between a paved road and gravel.
A technician had advised her way back in 2005 that the problem was with the ignition switch.
Andres clearly stated in the email that she believed it was a “serious safety problem, especially if this switch is on multiple programs.” She wrote: “I’m thinking big recall.”
The email was sent to 11 other GM employees including the vice president of North American engineering.
The 2006 Impala that Andres referenced was not recalled until June 16, 2014 as part of an additional 3 million cars GM recalled for ignition issues.
Automaker Should Be Held Accountable
This email is yet another piece of evidence that GM went about systematically covering up these ignition defects despite repeated warnings from their own employees that a major recall was warranted to fix these serious safety defects.
It is heartbreaking to see that most if not all of the 13 fatalities could have been prevented had GM promptly recalled these defective vehicles and made the necessary repairs.
The fixes would have cost them under $1 per vehicle. And yet, the automaker made the conscious decision not to recall the vehicles.
We will be following this important issue with the hope that GM will be held accountable – criminally and civilly – for the significant losses suffered by so many consumers.