GM knew switch defect could be fatal in May 2009

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.

From other sites
Comments (15)
  • mobyss
    , contributor
    Comments (2653) | Send Message
    GM should have gone under and been sold for scrap in 2009.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:25 AM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (5342) | Send Message
    Comrade Obama would not allow that to happen to his UAW buddies.
    25 Mar 2014, 08:10 AM Reply Like
  • graham downunder
    , contributor
    Comments (246) | Send Message
    Good old GM management can not lie straight in bed ,their will be much more to this for years . Look how long Toyota case took so their will be always the worry that the settlement with the Government will be a LOT bigger and of course there are over 300 deaths that may be linked to this " simply cheapskates " . I am sure there is plenty of evidence that it was well know both before the bankruptcy ( if that's what actually happened ) and after . This may be a BIG claim in total, in fact far bigger that people may think and be a boat anchor around the share price for years . My bet is there is more problems and recalls that were not done under the old GM and they will come out as outsiders dig threw things .What if another " thing" turned up in say a Chinese car could be very interesting .GM may be around $24 before it goes to $42.
    25 Mar 2014, 03:34 AM Reply Like
  • Mike P.
    , contributor
    Comments (83) | Send Message
    Grahm downunder and mobyss must be from russia or something because they sure are doing allot of blogging here about the number one auto maker in the world. GM says they are sorry for the defect and I believe them.


    The United States makes the best autos in the world so why is it a communist would make comments on this article, they want to see Americans give up their apple pie, and there Chevrolet.


    Up yours Putin!!!
    25 Mar 2014, 06:47 AM Reply Like
  • SoCalNative+(RIP)
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
    Wow. Just wow.
    25 Mar 2014, 10:14 AM Reply Like
  • mobyss
    , contributor
    Comments (2653) | Send Message
    "GM lied and people died"


    Oh, but they're "sorry", so it's ok - you know, because of apple pie.


    Is that the "American Way" now? With 300 deaths and figure about $2 million per lawsuit, GM's probably going to shell out a billion or more to clear this up, not to mention government fines.


    And reputation wise? Probably can't buy that back. Just another nail in the GM coffin.


    A typical used car buying excursion:


    "Hey honey, what about this 2008 Cobalt?"


    "Isn't that the one where the car shuts off and you have to manually steer it off the road? You know I commute on the freeway, so this really wouldn't be good. 300 or more people have died from this"


    "You're right - let's look at that Civic over there"


    So actually ANOTHER problem will be the collapse in resale value of all the related cars.


    By the way, when I said "sold for scrap", I mean a real liquidation, where some of the brands, factories, and other assets were sold. Chevrolet and Cadillac might have gone under private equity (as a Toyota/Lexus competitor). Roger Penske was interested in Saturn. A Chinese company wanted Hummer. All proceeds from these sales should have gone to bondholders. Stockholders? Gone. "Stakeholders" (UAW) Gone.
    25 Mar 2014, 12:14 PM Reply Like
  • graham downunder
    , contributor
    Comments (246) | Send Message
    Sorry Mike I'm not from Russia ,I'm from Australia ,so you can rule out communist. I have GM products for 30 years and still like them,I KNOW lock sets well .It is after all my opinion but it is based on the long term history the car industry has on concealing problems, and the expert legal teams that work for plantiffs that discover a lot more when they look .Now consider the problem was well known and a result of using a cheap lock that could have been redesigned and fixed probably for around $40 at a service . GM management knew and continued to use this lock for years despite having much better lock sets in other GM products that do not have this problem,why do so ??? . They probably saved about $ 1.50 in using them per car and lots of people died because of it .Current and previuos Management made a choice to save a $ 1.50 ,hoping that they would not get caught out, they lost so now they pay ,and lawyers will make them pay big time ,judgements will be high .This problem was concealed from their bankrupcy which if proven they knew about it makes the whole bankruptcy a mess and could mean they have no protection . Now consider its REAL problem to have you electrical system and engine suddenly shut down at say 65 mph on a straight road let alone a curved road at night . This also may explain failed airbag deployment in some fatal accidents . Its a can of worms as this type of problem can be intermittent so how many cases is anyones guess .I have to wonder if management concealed this long term problem is there more problems to come ??
    26 Mar 2014, 10:41 AM Reply Like
  • whiff
    , contributor
    Comments (993) | Send Message
    They didn't call it Government Motors for nothing - right out of the Washington, D.C. playbook ...
    25 Mar 2014, 06:59 AM Reply Like
  • june1234
    , contributor
    Comments (4504) | Send Message
    09? Even by GM "standards" thats pretty bad. Some say 12 dead so far , others 300+ . I recall renting a GM once, post bail out, brand new,a piece of the bottom dash under steering fell off. Different year, same GM.
    25 Mar 2014, 07:20 AM Reply Like
  • Budavar
    , contributor
    Comments (1418) | Send Message
    The GM culture reminds me of
    Kikazaru &
    Iwazaru =
    the 3 monkeys who could
    see no evil.
    hear no evil +
    speak no evil.


    See no evil in defective parts,
    hear no evil when complaints mounted +
    speak no evil disclosures on lethal products.
    25 Mar 2014, 09:36 AM Reply Like
  • SoCalNative+(RIP)
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
    Managers believed they could coast the car safely off the road?! What?! I don't know about you but that infuriates me. F-GM. I don't care if that sounds unpatriotic or not. Makes me sick. Like they say: good enough for government work.
    25 Mar 2014, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • mobyss
    , contributor
    Comments (2653) | Send Message
    I guess if your brakes go out you can open the door and drag your foot on the ground.
    25 Mar 2014, 12:36 PM Reply Like
  • SoCalNative+(RIP)
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
    Exactly, mobyss. Just like the Flintstones. It works in cartoons ;-)
    25 Mar 2014, 12:50 PM Reply Like
  • graham downunder
    , contributor
    Comments (246) | Send Message
    How about the power steering that stops and the airbags that do not work, or it may even lead to lose of headlights or wipers . Then you have the highly possible intermittent failure (I have seen this in similar car lock systems ).
    26 Mar 2014, 10:50 AM Reply Like
  • jurkojc
    , contributor
    Comments (209) | Send Message
    Great for conspiracy theorists in politics and business!


    US fines Samsung (Foreign Co) for infringement of AAPL ( US Co) patents. Samsung (Fgn Co) challenges and files counter suits. White House interferes.
    Toyota (Fgn Co) fined for malfunctions and given heavy penalties.
    GM (American owned)so far given a free ride on something that was known a long tim e ago. 2 private law suits filed. 300 plus incidents! And no gov't action?
    US targets Foreign banks for offering offshore protection from the IRS fines, UBS puts one bank out of business, attacks most offshore centers. Leaves US big bank subsidiaries alone. Meanwhile they have put foreign bankers in jail (bulLy for them), but not a single Bankster in the USA. Must admit though, they are successful at putting some of the low hanging fruit away.
    25 Mar 2014, 02:30 PM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)
ETF Screener: Search and filter by asset class, strategy, theme, performance, yield, and much more
ETF Performance: View ETF performance across key asset classes and investing themes
ETF Investing Guide: Learn how to build and manage a well-diversified, low cost ETF portfolio
ETF Selector: An explanation of how to select and use ETFs