Scrutiny on GM, NHTSA over ignition switches continues to grow

|By:, SA News Editor

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has called for a review of whether the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acted fast enough to address complaints about the defective ignition switches in GM (GM) cars that have been linked to the deaths of at least 12 people.

Any review would add to Congressional investigations into the affair, with the House already inviting acting NHTSA chief David Friedmand to testify before a panel in April.

The regulator has cited a lack of evidence for its inaction, although consumer groups dispute the claim, while service bulletins that GM sent to dealers in 2005 and 2006 mentioned the ignition problem. "They had more than enough information," says Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety. "They could have issued a recall as early as 2007."

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reviews the culture of cost-cutting and squeezing suppliers at GM that produced cars with the defective ignition switches. Engineers had created solutions to fix the problem by late 2004, but GM didn't implement them "after consideration of the lead time required, cost, and effectiveness of each of these solutions."