Report: NHTSA overruled recommendation to probe GM in 2007

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 14, 2014

A review group at the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2007 overruled an investigator and determined that a probe will not be launched due a lack of a pattern over faulty ignition switches, according to documents recently released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

NHTSA back then found out that warranty claims over the Chevrolet Cobalt’s air bags were around four times higher than for rival units. The regulator also found out that they had customer complaints, crash reports and GM’s descriptions of the fault.

E-mails and memos like these do not only supported claims that GM delayed its response over defects, they also provide reasons why the government decided decision not to act on the defect.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, remarked that everything in the memo suggests that NHTSA should have opened a defect investigation as the numbers are off the charts. The US Congress and the Justice Department are probing the chain of events that steered the carmaker to wait over a decade before recalling 2.59 million small cars.

NHTSA’s acting administrator, David Friedman, told a US Senate panel on April 2 that the agency didn’t recommend a probe in 2007 since the Cobalt and Ion didn’t stand out compared to rival vehicles. Calvin Scovel, inspector general of the Transportation Department, is reviewing whether NHTSA acted properly over the matter.

GM chief executive Mary Barra has apologized and ordered an internal probe into the issue. Her name appeared in only one document released by the committee -- a memo to her containing brief context on a news story over a previous Cobalt recall for steering issues.

According to a memo from Gregory Magno, chief of the agency’s Defects Assessment Division, while the papers didn’t indicate the reasons why NHTSA decided against a probe, GM officials said they saw “no specific problem pattern.” Friedman told senators the NHTSA doesn’t have complete records to show why it overruled the recommendation.

Topics: nhtsa, gm

If you liked the article, share on:

Comments

Login or Create new account to add a comment!

Recommended

Volkswagen Group’s dieselgate saga continues, but it appears the German company would be able to get out of trouble, but it would not be unscathed. This development comes as Volkswagen...
by - January 22, 2017
When a car has been in the market for nearly six years, it loses some of its luster and its customers tend to go for the all-new model with a...
by - January 22, 2017
Remember Zenos Cars, a British carmaker that specializes in designing and building lightweight and high-performance sports cars? If you are wondering how the company is faring with their E10 lightweight...
by - January 21, 2017
Mercedes-Benz has revealed that in 2017, its series 124 coupé will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. While this itself is a significant event, it will also mean that this model...
by - January 21, 2017
BMW’s 550i xDrive has long been considered as one of the most successful business sedans in the world. For the brand, this may not be enough as it has officially...
by - January 20, 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