GM knew switch defect could be fatal in May 2009

|By:, SA News Editor

General Motors (GM) managers learned in May 2009 of black-box data that confirmed that the ignition-switch flaw in some of its cars was potentially fatal. However, GM still publicly maintained that it didn't have enough evidence of the defect until recently.

Toyota was last week fined $1.2B for misleading customers and authorities about fatal flaws with its vehicles.

GM actually knew about the problem with the switch for the 2005 Cobalt, but launched the car anyway because managers believed that drivers would be able to safely coast the car off the road even if the power steering, power brakes and air bags were disabled.

Yesterday, GM received two lawsuits which argue that its recall of 1.6M vehicles isn't comprehensive enough and should include models through 2010.