The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has imposed a fine of $7,000 per day on General Motors over its responses to a 107-question query the agency asked the carmaker to answer in March. Although the penalty seems small for a company as large as GM, it sends a strong indication that NHTSA is not happy with how the carmaker is disclosing information.
The penalty also bodes more struggles over records that might explain why it took the carmaker a decade to recall the affected vehicles. GM has already recalled 2.2 million vehicles in the US over faulty ignition switches. NHTSA Chief Counsel Kevin Vincent said in a letter that GM failed to respond to over a third of the requests in the special order by an April 3 deadline.
The fine has reached $28,000 as of April 8, 2014. The letter is the latest among complaints on how GM responded to questions on the faulty switches installed in several discontinued models like the the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. The defective switch has been linked to crashes that lead to death of 13 people.
GM said in a statement that it has worked “tirelessly from the start” to respond to NHTSA’s special order and has fully cooperated with the agency to help it fully understand the facts.
According to GM, it has submitted nearly 21,000 documents for a total of 271,000 pages through a production process that covers a decade and spans over 5 million documents from 75 individual custodians as well as and additional sources.
GM said that NHTSA has agreed to a rolling production schedule of documents past the April 3 deadline. The carmaker said it will still provide responses and facts when they become available.