Ex-GM engineers say discreet switch redesign was a major violation of protocol

Article by Christian A., on March 25, 2014

Former high-level engineers at General Motors divulged that a discreet redesign of the ignition switches in 2006 was an extraordinary violation of internal process. In the mid-1990s, GM decided to pull design work for ignition and turn-signal switches from its suppliers, placing them under the care of its own employees.

One of the first in-house designs was of the ignition switches for the Saturn Ion and Chevrolet Cobalt, which are now the subject of a massive recall from the carmaker covering 1.6 million 2003-2007 vehicles fitted with the defective part. Faulty ignition switches has now also been linked to at least 34 crashes and 12 deaths in the past decade.

"We wanted to have control over the design," Ray DeGiorgio, the lead design engineer for the Ion and Cobalt ignition switch, said in an April 2013 deposition obtained by Automotive News. Some former GM engineers say that the carmaker’s reports to regulators detail a sequence of events that was basically at odds with standard operating procedure.

According to three people who were high-level engineers for GM at the time, the action of not assigning the new part number would have been highly unusual. "Changing the fit, form or function of a part without making a part number change is a cardinal sin," said one of the engineers. "It would have been an extraordinary violation of internal processes."

Lawmakers and federal safety regulators probing GM’s handling of the recall may question why the carmaker authorized a redesign of the ignition switch in 2006. They may also question why redesign was made discreetly and without a new part number -- something that internal investigation into complaints of Ions and Cobalts stalling were not aware of until late 2013. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

If you liked the article, share on:

Comments

Recommended

A lot of fans are excited with the news that Porsche could be unveiling a performance version of its Panamera 4 E-Hybrid plug-in hybrid during the 2017 Geneva Auto Show. ...
by - February 25, 2017
Tesla is finally setting a more “definite” schedule with regards to the official launch of the Tesla Model 3 electric car. A “limited production” is said to be slated to...
by - February 25, 2017
Are you a big fan of legendary boxer Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight world champion? Or are you a big fan of the iconic Ferrari F50? Either way, you will...
by - February 24, 2017
It seems that AM-RB 001 hypercar is not the only vehicle project that Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing has gone into. This time, don’t expect something as outlandish as...
by - February 24, 2017
The year 2018 marks the golden anniversary of Subaru of America. Of course, the company will celebrate 50 years of being at the helm of the brand’s crusade in North...
by - February 24, 2017
Facebook

Youtube Channel

Tip Us
Do you have a tip for us?
Did you film an important event?
Contact us
Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Subscribe
Galleries