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GM Agrees to $120m Ignition Switch Scandal Settlement

Money going to 49 states and D.C.

by on Oct.20, 2017

One of the defective GM ignition switch units now blamed for causing at least 124 deaths.

General Motors has agreed to pay out $120 million to settle a lawsuit filed by 49 states and the District of Columbia over its handling of an ignition switch defect linked to at least 124 deaths and 275 injuries.

The problem was revealed in early 2014 and eventually led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles and the firing of more than a dozen GM employees who either failed to act on early warning signs or attempted to sweep the problem under the carpet.

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“GM will continue ongoing improvements it’s made to ensure the safety of its vehicles,” a spokesman for the automaker said. That includes changes ordered by CEO Mary Barra after the problem was first revealed, as well as efforts that were agreed to as part of a settlement with the federal government in December 2015.

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GM: Ignition Switch Victim Fund Paid Out Nearly $600 Mi

Total cost for scandal now tops $2 bil.

by on Dec.10, 2015

A replacement for the faulty GM ignition switches.

An independent victims’ fund set up by General Motors paid out nearly $600 million to settle 399 claims related to a faulty ignition switch, bringing to more than $2 billion the total amount of money the maker has spent as a result of a defect linked to more than 100 deaths.

The announcement came Thursday as the special fund began wrapping up operations. It had been set up on orders from Mary Barra, the then-new GM CEO, last year as part of a broader response to the maker’s extensive safety problems. GM has also had to pay out $900 million to settle a Justice Department criminal probe, and millions more in fines levied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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But GM’s troubles are far from over. Not all of those offered settlements from the victims’ fund accepted, and they are among a number of others still set to have their day in court, with a series of trials set to begin in U.S. District Court in New York next month.

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Mazda Recalling Over 1 Mil US Cars for Ignition Switch Defect

U.S. may be heading for another year of record recalls.

by on Oct.23, 2015

The Mazda MPV is one of the many older models targeted by the ignition switch recall.

Mazda has become the latest automaker to order a recall for ignition switch problems, the Japanese automaker announcing a callback for 1.2 million vehicles sold in the United States during the 1990s.

The size of the recall is about five times as large as the ignition switch recall General Motors announced in early 2014, GM’s defect now linked to more than 100 deaths. But where the GM problem resulted in switches that might inadvertently turn off, the Mazda switches could unexpectedly overheat and catch fire.

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Mazda will recall a total of 4.9 million vehicles equipped with the defective switches worldwide, about a quarter of them sold in the United States. The announcement marks just the latest in a series of seven-figure industry recalls announced this week.

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GM Hit by New Ignition Switch, Takata Airbag Recalls

Airbag issue could trigger still broader recall.

by on Oct.19, 2015

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is one of several vehicles equipped with the faulty ignition switch.

Ignition switch and airbag problems have been responsible for some of the biggest recalls of the past year – and they’re now being blamed for a pair of new recalls at General Motors.

In both cases, however, the problems are different from those that have led to earlier big recalls. But one of the two new announcements suggests that Japanese supplier Takata’s problems could be growing worse.

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The new ignition switch problem, however, may have been caught early, in large part due to a new safety program GM has set up in-house to catch potential safety issues.

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As GM Closes Out Ignition Investigation, CEO Barra Says Maker Learned its Lesson

On 3-year probation, GM's problems aren't yet over.

by on Sep.17, 2015

GM CEO Mary Barra addresses a company town hall to discuss the ignition switch settlement.

The U.S. Department has concluded a year-longer investigation into General Motors’ handling of a deadly ignition switch defect with a settlement that requires the automaker to pay a $900 million fine. The maker separately negotiated $575 million settlement to conclude various civil suits related to the ignition switch issue now blamed for at least 124 deaths.

The settlement was significantly less than many had expected. And federal investigators did not bring charges against anyone connected with the defect despite GM’s acknowledgement that it waited a decade to deal with the problem. The Justice Dept. had extracted a $1.2 billion fine from Toyota Motor Co. last year to settle charges it had delayed action on defects related to unintended acceleration.

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For her part, General Motors CEO Mary Barra told employees at a town hall meeting at the company’s Vehicle Engineering Center in Warren, Michigan that GM had “let (its) customers down.

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GM Reportedly Set to Settle Justice Dept. Case Over Faulty Ignition Switches

Penalty expected to be in “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

by on Sep.17, 2015

A replacement for the faulty GM ignition switches.

General Motors may take a step closer to wrapping up one of the most troubling incidents in its long history, according to news reports, agreeing to settle a Justice Department criminal investigation into it botched handling of a deadly ignition switch defect.

If preliminary reports prove accurate, GM would pay a penalty in the “hundreds of millions of dollars,” and perhaps as much as $900 million, according to sources close to the investigation quoted by NBC News and other media outlets. That would be substantially less than the $1.2 billion paid by Toyota Motor Co. in March 2014 to settle an investigation into its own safety-related problems.

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The GM settlement also is expected to include a wire fraud charge, though there are no indications any specific individuals will be subject to criminal prosecution, a possibility raised early in the Justice Dept. investigation – and by GM’s own move last year to fire 15 company employees due to their role in delaying a recall of 2.5 million vehicles equipped with faulty switches.

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Amidst Safety Crackdown, NHTSA Comes Under Fire

“Significant safety concerns (are) being overlooked.”

by on Jun.22, 2015

Mark Rosekind, NHTSA's new administrator, will testify before a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

In the wake of a series of fatal safety problems, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has promised to crack down on the auto industry. But NHTSA itself is expected to come under fire for its own lapses.

Published reports indicate the agency charged with regulating automotive safety fell short in a variety of ways in recent years, among other things failing to uncover the ignition switch problem at General Motors that led to more than 110 deaths.

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“Collectively, these weaknesses have resulted in significant safety concerns being overlooked,” says a harsh, 42-page report by the Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General, which is expected to be published on Friday.

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GM Death Toll at 107 as Feds Find Criminal Wrongdoing

Hefty fines could follow

by on May.26, 2015

GM CEO Mary Barra testified before congressional subcommittees four times due to GM's recall of 2.6 million vehicles last year.

The official death toll from faulty General Motors ignition switches has jumped again, to 107. At the same time, federal prosecutors have reportedly decided there was criminal wrongdoing in the way the maker handled the defect, taking more than a decade to order a recall.

Whether any individual will be prosecuted for the flawed handling of the ignition switch problem is uncertain, but hefty fines appear likely to follow, with the New York Times reporting that the ongoing investigation could be wrapped up by summer.

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Those fines could run well in excess of the money GM already has laid out to settle claims filed with a victims’ compensation fund. Last year, GM set aside $400 million to cover potential claims. By the time of the filing deadline on January 31, administrator Kenneth Feinberg reported receiving 4,342 separate claims.

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Lawyers Line Up GM Execs for Ignition Switch Depositions

Lead attorney for national case waiting for cover-up documents.

by on Mar.20, 2015

GM CEO Mary Barra will be the final executive deposed in a national lawsuit against the automaker due to faulty ignition switches.

The saga that is General Motors and its faulty ignition switches is getting ready to ramp up as a Texas lawyer will begin deposing 35 GM executives, including CEO Mary Barra, in May.

Texas-based lawyer Robert Hilliard who was appointed by Federal Judge Jesse Furman as the co-lead counsel for the national GM ignition switch litigation, which may be the largest single product liability case in U.S. history, is kicking off his depositions next month.

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He’ll begin with Alicia Boler-Davis on May 6 and conclude with Barra on Oct. 8. GM has declined to comment on the case. Hilliard’s case may be bolstered by the automaker’s recent settlement with the family of Brooke Melton, the 29-year-old nurse who died in 2010 while driving one of GM’s vehicles equipped with one of the faulty switches. (more…)

The Car Key is Becoming an Endangered Species

Keyless systems quickly taking over.

by on Dec.09, 2014

The red key fob unleashes all 707 horsepower in the Dodge Challenger Hellcat. The black key limits a driver to "just" 500-hp.

Officially, it isn’t a recall, just a technical service bulletin, but whatever General Motors is calling the announcement, dealers have been advised to replace the keys on 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models, as well as several other large pickups and SUVs.

Some owners have complained that when they shift gears they can knock the ignition switch out of position – bringing to mind this year’s earlier recall of GM vehicles equipped with defective ignition switches now linked to 38 deaths and 100s of injuries.

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While that has put the spotlight on GM, the maker is just one of several to order recalls in recent years due to key and ignition switch problems – which is adding more momentum to a broad industry shift away from conventional ignition switches to push-button starters.

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