GM could face another fine for Impala recall

GM could face another fine for Impala recall

Posted: Updated:
  • GM RecallMore>>

  • GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:00 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:00:12 GMT
    General Motors issued six more recalls on Wednesday, bringing its annual total to 60 recalls covering almost 30 million vehicles.
    General Motors issued six more recalls on Wednesday, bringing its annual total to 60 recalls covering almost 30 million vehicles.
  • Local families still waiting for GM compensation

    Local families still waiting for GM compensation

    Thursday, July 17 2014 7:19 PM EDT2014-07-17 23:19:37 GMT
    As the investigation into GM's deadly recalls continues with a compensation fund set up for families affected, questions come of who qualifies and who doesn't.
    As the investigation into GM's deadly recalls continues with a compensation fund set up for families affected, questions come of who qualifies and who doesn't.
  • GM says it's replaced 491,000 ignition switches

    GM says it's replaced 491,000 ignition switches

    Thursday, July 17 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-07-17 18:52:11 GMT
    General Motors says it has replaced faulty ignition switches on just under 20 percent of 2.6 million small cars that are being recalled. The company has repaired just over 491,000 cars that are covered by the recall announced in February.
    General Motors says it has replaced faulty ignition switches on just under 20 percent of 2.6 million small cars that are being recalled. The company has repaired just over 491,000 cars that are covered by the recall announced in February.
DETROIT (AP) -- An old e-mail from a General Motors employee warning of a "serious safety problem" could help trigger another government fine against the automaker.
 
The Aug. 30, 2005, e-mail surfaced Wednesday during a House subcommittee hearing on GM's delayed recall of 2.6 million small cars with ignition switch problem. This email outlined a similar issue with a larger car. 
 
Employee Laura Andres wrote that she was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Impala home from work when she hit a bump and the engine stalled on busy Interstate 75 near Detroit. The car behind her had to swerve to avoid a crash.  A GM mechanic told her the cause was likely a faulty ignition switch.
 
"I think this is a serious safety problem ... I'm thinking big recall," Andres wrote in an e-mail to 11 GM colleagues.
 
Yet it wasn't until Monday that GM recalled the Impalas, Buick LaCrosses and other models with the same switch, almost nine years after Andres' e-mail. Safety regulators received dozens of similar complaints about the cars during that time.
 
GM said that excess weight on a keychain could cause the ignition switch to move out of the "run" position if the car is jarred, like when it hits a pothole. The engine stalls, and the drivers loses power steering and power brakes. 
 
Under federal law, automakers must notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration within five business days of determining a safety defect exists. A maximum $35 million fine is possible if the agency finds an automaker took too long to report a problem.
 
GM paid a $35 million fine last month for its 11-year delay in reporting defective ignition switches in the Chevrolet Cobalt and other small cars.
 
Multiple fines are not without precedent. From 2010 through 2012, NHTSA fined Toyota Motor Corp. four times for a total of $66 million due to safety-related violations.
 
GM wouldn't comment Thursday on the possibility of another fine. NHTSA also wouldn't comment on the Impala case, but said it reviews all recalls to make sure they comply with the notification law and it takes "appropriate action" when it finds problems.
 
Andres's e-mail alone isn't enough to trigger the five-day rule, because it only suggests the ignitions are unsafe. But it's proof that some GM employees knew about a potential problem for almost a decade. GM has not yet submitted a required timeline to NHTSA that will say when it officially determined the Impala switches were defective.
 
Andres, who still works for GM in design and engineering, could not be reached for comment. But in her 2005 e-mail, she urged engineers to build a "stronger" switch.
 
Andres' warning was brushed off by GM engineer Ray DeGiorgio, who replied that he had recently driven a 2006 Impala and "did not experience this condition." He also noted that the Impala had "a completely different column/ignition switch" than the one that was causing problems in GM's small cars.
 
DeGiorgio is a central figure in the small-car recall saga. GM says he approved using the switches even though they failed to meet company specifications, and then took actions that hid the defect for years.
 
Andres's e-mail wasn't the only indication of problems. NHTSA's Web site lists more than 100 complaints about stalling for 2006-2009 Impalas alone. Those are complaints GM would have had access to.
 
In one 2012 complaint, an Impala stalled in the middle of a large intersection. The owner took it to a dealer four times but couldn't get it repaired.
 
"I'm fearful I will be the one causing a fatal pile-up," the driver wrote. 
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Michigan girl mauled by racoon receives wave of support

    Michigan girl mauled by racoon receives wave of support

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:52 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:52:22 GMT
    She told us all she wanted was to wear earrings -- and now she's got a lot of options. We'll show you how Charlotte is healing after surgery to replace her ear... and how you've made a difference. Her story includes a tragic accident, but also a tremendous outpouring of support. The 12-year-old girl from western Michigan who was attacked by a raccoon, shows us how the generosity of others is helping her heal. "This is all the jewelry people sent me," she said. Dozens of pairs of earrings and ...
    She told us all she wanted was to wear earrings -- and now she's got a lot of options. We'll show you how Charlotte is healing after surgery to replace her ear... and how you've made a difference. Her story includes a tragic accident, but also a tremendous outpouring of support. The 12-year-old girl from western Michigan who was attacked by a raccoon, shows us how the generosity of others is helping her heal. "This is all the jewelry people sent me," she said. Dozens of pairs of earrings and ...
  • Funeral arrangements set for murdered Armada teen

    Funeral arrangements set for murdered Armada teen

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:36 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:36:17 GMT
    Funeral arrangements have been set for the 14-year-old murdered in Armada last week. Meanwhile, investigators are still looking for a suspect.
    Funeral arrangements have been set for the 14-year-old murdered in Armada last week. Meanwhile, investigators are still looking for a suspect.
  • Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:10 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:10:35 GMT
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices