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Internal GM Documents Reveal GM May Have Rejected Safer Ignition Switch Design Due to Cost

Newly released internal GM documents reveal that the company in 2001 considered -- and rejected – an ignition switch design that two prominent safety advocates say could have avoided the problem that led the automaker to recall millions of vehicles this year.
Newly released internal GM documents reveal that the company in 2001 considered -- and rejected – an ignition switch design that two prominent safety advocates say could have avoided the problem that led the automaker to recall millions of vehicles this year. The company’s decision to reject the safer switch was motivated by cost, the advocates say.

They say GM documents show that design was the same one GM quietly began providing years later, in 2006, as a replacement part, and is now beginning to add to all recalled vehicles.

The new allegation against GM came Wednesday morning in a joint letter to GM CEO Mary Barra from Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, and Joan Claybrook, former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and former executive director of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.

In the letter, Ditlow and Claybrook say that “obscure but ‘smoking gun’” documents released last week “paint a tragic picture of the cost culture and cover-up at General Motors.”


“We now know, from Engineering Drawings and Documents submitted to the U.S. Congress by General Motors, the company created two competing designs for the ignition switch on the 2003 Saturn Ion and later models including the Chevrolet Cobalt and other recalled vehicles,” it says. “But GM chose to use the ignition switch that would fail as your customers were driving innocently on the highway.”

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/gm-recall/did-gm-reject-safer-ignition-switch-design-2001-because-cost-n81526
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