In January, GM was riding an all-time high, winning both truck and car of the year at the Detroit Auto Show. Politicians and industry leaders were lining up to offer their praise and approval.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Instead of building off of their success, GM is now dealing with questions about their past and a possible cover-up scandal.
This scandal is circulating around a recall of roughly 1.6 million vehicles in February of this year. The recall was performed because of a faulty ignition switch that could shut off the engine and disable safety systems. This malfunction has been linked to 31 frontal end crashes and 13 deaths over the course of the past decade. Now, there have been reports that the businessmen in the upper echelon of GM may have known about this problem 10 years ago and still went on dealing the vehicles.
These rumors have led to an investigation of the company. This week, regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have begun an in-depth examination of the company, starting with a 27 page survey that includes 107 questions about the timeline of events leading to the recall. GM has until April 3rd to finish what is assumed to be a several hundred page report of events.
Addressing what will be done with the report, the NHTSA said in a released statement on their website, “The Special Order is part of the agency’s ongoing investigation into the timeliness of General Motors’ recall of faulty ignition switches to determine whether GM properly followed the legal processes and requirements for reporting recalls… We are a data-driven organization, and we will take whatever action is appropriate based on where our findings lead us.”
Mary Barra, who took over as CEO in January, is already trying to weather the storm with an internal investigation. On Tuesday, she sent a letter to GM employees stating that the company would be taking an “unvarnished” look at how the process was handled.
To handle the public and the swarming media, GM released this statement earlier this week: “We are fully cooperating with NHTSA and we welcome the opportunity to help the agency have a full understanding of the facts. In addition to getting NHTSA the information they need, we are doing what we can now to ensure our customers’ safety and peace of mind. We want our customers to know that today’s GM is committed to fixing this problem in a manner that earns trust.”
For the new GM led by Barra, they have handled this scandal the best that they can. But the question still remains: will the public forgive and forget, chalking this up to corrupt leaders that are no longer around? Only time will tell.