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Senate Hearings Focus on Part Redesign

Tina Robinson3 years ago

As GM CEO Mary Barra testified before a Senate committee on Wednesday morning, much of the focus was on who authorized the redesign of the faulty ignition switches without changing the part number.

Was there a Cover Up?

In opening statements, the Senate committee highlighted the investigation into Brooke Melton’s death which exposed a redesigned ignition switch that shared the same part number as defective ignition switches. Mounting evidence suggests that a GM engineer lied under oath consistently about the part redesign.

Committee members wanted to know how, with the standards and procedures that are in place at GM, such a redesign could even take place. Sen. Johnson pointed out that someone would most likely have had to intentionally keep the part number from being changed. Barra agreed that evidence indicates that was most likely what happened but deferred to the ongoing investigation.

Furthermore, Sen. McCaskgill expressed concern that a document showing that the switch was redesigned was withheld from lawyers involved in a wrongful death lawsuit. She noted that such a document was clearly within the scope of evidence and wondered how many other pending or closed cases were also denied that key piece of information.

GM Engineer Still Employed

McCaskill also took Barra to task about the GM engineer who lied about the part redesign even though his signature was on documents approving the change. “I, for the life of me, can’t understand why he still has his job,” McCaskill said. Barra has said “there are no sacred cows” within GM and that once an internal investigation is completed, appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken. 


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