GM internal documents show that GM ordered 500,000 replacement switches just two months before announcing its recall. As the GM litigation progresses, newly released internal e-mails from GM corporate representatives reveal that the company was aware of the need to recall the ignition switches. The reason for the delay is unclear but definitely shows that the company was reluctant to move forward with the recall despite significant safety concerns. Since this shocking news, GM has acknowledged that its reporting system was flawed.
A GM spokesman, Alan Adler stated “these e-mails are further confirmation that our system needed reform, and we have done so. We have reorganized our entire safety investigation and decision process and have more investigators, move issues more quickly and make decisions with better data.”
Despite GM’s contention that it has revamped its safety investigation team, many believe it is too little, too late. With a reported 32 deaths attributed to the recalled part, critics of the company believe that its reputation was been irreparably damaged. This is particularly true given that several top GM executives swore before Congress that the switch ignition problems were not communicated to them until January 31. GM recalled its ignition switch parts on February 25, 2014.
The email correspondence in question shows that GM placed an order for 500,000 replacement ignition switches on December 18, one day after a meeting of senior GM executives. GM asked their supplier to provide a plan of action to produce the parts.
As we previously reported, GM has recalled 2.6 million cars for the defect. The compact vehicles sold between 2003 and 2010 were defective and would switch from “run” to “accessory” causing the engines to stall. This can make it difficult to control the car and disables air bags.