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.
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.