General Motors posted in YouTube five short videos featuring chief executive Mary Barra addressing the recent massive recall involving cars with faulty ignition switch. Each video carries unique but related titles like "Why the delay announcing the recall?" and "Is my car safe to drive?" In one of those videos, Barra vowed to implement a world class process for vehicle safety.
The YouTube videos are part of GM’s bid to limit harm to its image by reassuring the public that it will address its botched handling of the recall and avoid future safety issues. "I want to make it clear to our customers that you are our compass. You are at the heart of everything we do," Barra says in one video.
She also said that GM intends to make the recall as smooth as possible for affected customers. Barra also reiterated several of the messages she has delivered via communications with employees and the media. Barra assures customers that affected vehicles are safe to drive as long as they don't add objects to the issued key ring.
GM has remarked that added weight on the key ring might lead the switch to slip into accessory mode, resulting to engine shutoff and airbag deactivation. GM has admitted that its engineers found the issues as early as 2001 and that it took a long time before the carmaker issued a recall.
In one of the video, Barra said that the fact the recall took over 10 years indicates that the carmaker has work to do to improve its process. She added that an internal investigation will help the carmaker avoid future missteps.
Barra is set to testify April 1 on the United States Congress about GM’s handling of its current recall crisis, the US House Energy and Commerce Committee said. The hearing will occur about five weeks after GM recalled 1.6 million cars to replace faulty ignition switches which if shifted out of position could shut off the engine.
GM’s CEO will have to answer queries on why it took GM over a decade to order the repair. Her answers may have implications for GM's public image. The committee also invited David Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to testify.
Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a joint statement with Rep. Tim Murphy, chairman of the oversight subcommittee, that while the problems originated long before Barra and Friedman took the helms of their respective organizations, their actions and input now will be essential to getting answers about what went wrong.