CEO Mary Barra, the Cobalt saga was riddled with failure

Global Business

An internal probe into General Motors’ recall scandal found a pattern of incompetence and neglect, but cleared the car maker of conspiracy. That’s according to company CEO Mary Barra, in her summary of the report to employees worldwide.
In her Thursday address, Barra also announced that 15 employees have been sacked over the fatally flawed ignition switches defects that the company has known about for a decade. CCTV’s Liling Tan reports.

CEO Mary Barra, the Cobalt saga was riddled with failure

CEO Mary Barra, the Cobalt saga was riddled with failure

An internal probe into General Motors' recall scandal found a pattern of incompetence and neglect, but cleared the car maker of conspiracy. That's according to company CEO Mary Barra, in her summary of the report to employees worldwide. In her Thursday address, Barra also announced that 15 employees have been sacked over the fatally flawed ignition switches defects that the company has known about for a decade. CCTV’s Liling Tan reports.
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Addressing employees at GM’s technical center in Warren, Michigan, CEO Mary Barra appeared contrite.

Mary Barra, GM CEO, said: “Overall the report concludes that from start to finish, the Cobalt saga was riddled with failure, which led to tragic results for many.”

Citing the report she commissioned by former US Attorney Anton Valukas, Barra acknowledged that the company had misdiagnosed problems with its Chevrolet Cobalt, linked to 47 crashes and 13 deaths.

Mary Barra, GM CEO, also said: “What Valukas found in this situation was a pattern of incompetence and neglect. Repeatedly individuals failed to disclose critical pieces of information that could have fundamentally changed the lives of those impacted by the faulty ignition switch.”

The car maker took more than a decade to recall 2.6 million cars with the defect, despite knowing about it as early as 2001.

“Fifteen individuals, whom we determined to have acted inappropriately, are no longer with the company. Some were removed because of what we consider misconduct or incompetence. Others have been relieved because they simply didn’t do enough.” said Mary Barra.

Barra said the investigation found no conspiracy by GM to cover up the facts, nor evidence of a trade off between safety and cost. It also cleared Barra and other senior executives of direct involvement.

What it found was that many employees operated in silos, not sharing information with others– and that the problem was perceived as a customer convenience issue rather than a safety defect.

Barra expressed a commitment to doing the right thing and taking responsibility so this does not happen again. She also announced a compensation fund for victims and their families. But industry observers question if Barra’s contrition, and her compensation program, are enough.

Robert Sinclair, AAA New York Spokesperson, says: “One death is one too many. And as soon as they knew about this problem, they should have been on it. The opportunity for them to do what they need to do in terms of public relations is probably over. They’re going to have to work very hard and much harder now in order to get back their good name.”

The full report is being submitted to US regulators and Congress for review.

CCTV’s Michelle Makori is joined by automotive expert, Lauren Fix, from aka The Car Coach, with more on GM  recall scandal.

Lauren Fix on GM recall scandal

Lauren Fix on GM recall scandal

CCTV’s Michelle Makori is joined by automotive expert, Lauren Fix, from The Car Coach, with more on GM recall scandal.
Download Video