Second U.S. Senate Hearing Held On GM Switch Recall




U.S. Senate members met with General Motors (GM) officials on July 17, 2014 for a second round of hearings investigating the automaker’s massive ignition switch recall.

GM CEO Mary Barra faced questions on why the company still retained its top lawyer (who Senate members claimed should have known about the faulty switches) and expanding a victim compensation program, according to Bloomberg.com. It was Barra’s fourth Senate appearance. The news source also stated that GM has recalled nearly 26 million vehicles in the United States so far this year. The automaker has increased the pace of recalls since February, when the company announced the ignition-switch defect, which its engineers had known about for years.

The ignition switches can inadvertently shut off when jarred, cutting power to the engine and deactivating air bags. The delay to recall the vehicles has led to investigations by the Transportation Department, both chambers of Congress and federal prosecutors.

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) announced its staff also attended the hearing, due in large part to its interest in obtaining OEM part numbers. ARA stated that it is working with committee members and staff to insure that they are educated about the importance of part numbers in the entire automotive supply chain so that members can ask questions on behalf of ARA during the hearing process.

Senators were also interested in learning more about the role of parts maker Delphi and why the part with less torque was approved, who approved the reengineered part without a new part number and how quickly Delphi manufactures replacement parts. Company officials took no blame for the faulty part, stating that the approval of the part was provided by the lead GM engineer. They also stated that one million replacement parts have already been manufactured and Delphi is on track to finish producing the remaining 3 million within a few months.

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