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Documents Show GM CEO Barra Lied about When She Knew About Defect

Tina Robinson2 years ago

New documents released by the House Energy and Commerce committee show GM Chief Mary Barra lied in her testimony last week when she said she wasn’t told about the problems with the recalled vehicles until January this year, according to Zero Hedge.

E-mails to Barra from 2011

When Mary Barra testified before House and Senate committees last week, one of the questions that lawmakers focused on was when Barra was told of the ignition switch defect. Barra insisted that she wasn’t told until January 31 this year, just weeks after being named General Motor’s CEO.

Documents released by the House Energy and Commerce committee suggest otherwise. An e-mail sent to Barra in 2011 shows she was indeed told about the problems with the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion.

Senators last week accused the automaker of a “culture of cover up.” Barra has been a career employee with GM and held several high positions with the automaker over the years. Before being named CEO, Barra was head of global product development. When Barra insisted she didn’t know about the defective ignition switches until this year, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) commented, “You’re a very important person in this company. Something is very strange that you don’t know about these things.”

Culture of Cover Up

As more information is learned about what happened in the early stages of the GM recall, the evidence is piling up against the automaker.

Documents show that GM engineer Ray DeGiorgio signed off on a redesign of the defective ignition switches. DeGiorgio later told lawyers in a wrongful death lawsuit later year that he had no knowledge of the part redesign.

Congress members pointed to the redesigned switch as evidence of a cover up. In 2006 the switch indent plunger was changed to increase the torque on the switches, but the part number was never changed. Even Barra admitted in her testimony that it would have been standard practice to give the switches a new part number.

GM is currently the subject of several federal investigations, including a criminal investigation by the Justice Department, into its handling of the ignition switch recall. The automaker has also been slapped with several lawsuits from victims and their families. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it would begin fining the automaker $7000 per day for not providing information in a timely manner.

In February, GM initiated a recall of vehicles, mostly Chevrolet Cobalts, due to defective ignition switches that could easily be bumped out of the “on” position causing sudden loss of engine power. The recall was twice expanded to eventually include 2.6 million vehicles. The defective switches have been linked to at least 13 deaths

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