GM to pay record $35 million fine over deadly ignition fails
BY MATTHEW DELUCA, NBC News
(NBC News) - General Motors has agreed to pay a record $35 million penalty for delays in reporting flaws in ignition switches that have led to at least 13 deaths, the Department of Transportation announced on Friday.
Apart from the civil penalty, the automaker has agreed to “unprecedented oversight” as a result of an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into the recall of 2.5 million vehicles.
The NHTSA administration said the fine is the “single highest civil penalty amount ever paid as a result of a NHTSA investigation of violations stemming from a recall.”
As part of the deal, the government “ordered GM to make significant and wide-ranging internal changes to its review of safety-related issues in the United States, and to improve its ability to take into account the possible consequences of potential safety-related defects.
“The defect resulted in the non-deployment of airbags in certain Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM models,” the DOT said in the release.
The Department of Transportation announced on Friday morning that it would make a “major announcement” regarding its investigation into how GM handled its recall of millions of vehicles.
GM confirmed in late April that it is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Justice Department, and U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, in connection with the ignition switch recall.
A press release from GM on Friday said that the company will have enough replacement parts by October to fix the “majority” of the vehicles recalled for flawed ignition switches and ignition cylinders.
On Thursday, the company announced that was issuing five recalls covering 2.7 million vehicles in the U.S. The recalls included one for more than 2.4 million vehicles, and was connected to malfunctioning taillamps, according to a GM statement.
“We have redoubled our efforts to expedite and resolve current reviews inprocess and also have identified and analyzed recent vehicle issues which require action,” Jeff Boyer, GM’s vice president of global vehicle safety, said in a statement. “These are examples of our focus to surface issues quickly and promptly take necessary actions in the best interests of our customers.”