GM and NHTSA Elude Accountability in Failed Fire Risk Recall

It has now been more than three months since news broke that General Motors, once again, failed to properly protect owners of its vehicles from risks resulting from shoddy quality control. The latest incident involves about 1.4 million GM vehicles that were at risk of erupting into flames due to engine oil seepage. The at-risk vehicles were previously recalled by GM years ago, but the quick-fix remedy offered by GM did not solve the underlying problem.

It appears that most of mainstream media has been fiddling while the GM vehicles burned. One of the few articles that criticized the latest GM recall failure came in November of 2015 from the Associated Press via the Detroit Free Press. That story questioned the actions of GM in the case along with the crony government regulatory environment as NHTSA failed, yet again, to take action on a well-known safety problem. Following are excerpts …

Will Criminal Charges Bring Justice for GM Victims?

The New York Times reports that the Justice Department has concluded that there was criminal wrongdoing by General Motors as the company covered-up a deadly ignition switch defect for years. That defect has now been blamed for causing the deaths of at least 107 motorists. While many observers may have been able to come to the conclusion that GM was guilty long before the Justice Department’s recent epiphany, the bigger question now is, what’s next?

GM still faces litigation risks as ongoing lawsuits seek justice for the victims’ families that suffered as a result of GM’s criminal actions. Full justice may never be served for those who suffered their losses prior to GM’s Obama-orchestrated 2009 bankruptcy process as the bankruptcy judge in that case, Robert Gerber, has given GM a free pass on any losses that occurred prior to the government bailout in a recent ruling.

There is one major …

GM Misses Earnings – Burns over $3 Billion in First Quarter

It appears that General Motors is trying to remedy one of the latest criticisms against them. That criticism is that the company has way too large a “cash hoard” and most recently came from former Obama Auto Task Force member turned shareholder activist, Harry Wilson. Well Harry, be at ease; GM has managed to reduce that so-called hoard by over $3 billion in just three months as first quarter earnings flopped on Wall Street.

An analysis of GM’s earnings data release shows that cash and cash equivalents plunged from $19 billion to $15.8 billion. Marketable securities’ value also fell from $9.2 billion to $8.4 billion. Unfortunately for GM optimists who might want to point to GM’s share buy-back as the reason for the cash burn, it turns out that GM only used $400 million in cash during the quarter to repurchase 10 million shares. Despite that buyback, the number …

Regulatory Capture: NHTSA Toes GM Line on Brake Corrosion

The verdict is in from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on General Motors’ corroding brake line problem. Despite having received thousands of complaints from motorists regarding brake failure due to brake line rust, the agency claims GM does not have higher failure rates than other manufacturers. The clear evidence to the contrary makes this a classic case of what economists call "regulatory capture." First identified by Nobel laureate George Stigler (in photo) in 1971, it's when a government agency tasked with protecting the public interest instead acts to the benefit of an industry or particular company.

In this case, it's a particular union. The ersatz GM bankruptcy and taxpayer bailout were orchestrated by the Obama Administration with the goal of preserving the political power of the United Auto Workers. Since that time the administration has sought to prop up GM in every conceivable way, with NHTSA just one …

GM Ignores Steering Defect on Chevy Malibu and Cruze

A Consumer Watchdog is trying to expose another unaddressed safety issue with some General Motors’ vehicles. The problem, once again, involves loss of steering and occurs on later model year Chevy Malibus, Chevy Cruzes and Buick Veranos. Also, once again, GM and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) are aware of the dangerous defect and choose to issue a “service bulletin” instead of recalling the vehicles with safety problems.

Christine Young is the Consumer Watchdog that has written about the newest GM safety concern on Ms. Young tells the story of a frustrated Chevy Cruze owner who is afraid to drive his vehicle because of problems with power steering. GM’s response to the problem belies the perception that the company is properly addressing safety issues on its vehicles.

You see, GM has sent letters and issued a service bulletin that admits a dangerous defect exists. However, owners are …

Congress Asked to Investigate Whether Obama Administration Delayed GM Ignition Switch Recall

Jason ChaffetzToday, we requested that the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform undertake an “independent” investigation of the General Motors ignition switch recall delay, in light of newly obtained emails by lawyers suing GM.

Those emails suggest that the Treasury may have timed its final sale of GM shares to precede public knowledge of the ignition switch fiasco. They also cast doubt on GM CEO Mary Barra’s previous account of what she knew and when she knew it.

Here is the text of a letter I sent today to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), in photo, the incoming Chairman of the Oversight & Government Reform Committee:

At a February 2010 Oversight Committee hearing on the risk from Toyota gas pedals, you asked a remarkably prescient question: “Does the government treat Toyota the same as it does all other automakers?”

Then-Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was unable to explain why the …

Another GM Recall Bombshell Raises More Questions

Brooke's carThe evidence continues to mount that General Motors has been less than transparent, if not outright culpable, regarding its ignition switch recall fiasco. As the death toll mounts (from the original 13 casualties reported by GM to the just revised 32 deaths) for victims involved in crashes of GM vehicles with defective ignition switches, new evidence has emerged that GM actually ordered replacement parts for the defective switches a full two months before they even reported a problem.

A Wall Street Journal article published on Sunday unveiled the damning evidence that GM placed an order for half a million replacement parts for defective ignition switches in mid-December of 2013. GM’s timeline of events points to February of 2014 as the time when they decided on recalling the vehicles. Mary Barra has stated that she was not aware of the issue until around that time, when GM notified the National Highway …

Women’s Museum Asked to Rescind Mary Barra Award; GM CEO Made History ‘of Wrong Kind’

Mary BarraToday I sent the following letter to Dr. Gretchen Green, the Acting Chair of the National Women’s History Museum:

We ask the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) to withdraw its planned award to General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

As you know, Barra is scheduled to receive the Katharine Graham Living Legacy Award on November 17 as part of your annual de Pizan Honors at The Mead Center for American Theater at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.

Barra has indeed made history – of the wrong kind.

Just three months ago, she sat in front of Congressional Committees and desperately tried to avoid answering questions about the negligence and cover up regarding an ignition switch defect. As Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) said, “It goes beyond unacceptable. I believe this is criminal.” Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said, “Even under the ‘New GM’ banner, the company waited nine months to take action after …

Motorists Get Big Brake Line Repair Bills as GM Resists Recall

GM brake lineEvery so often a General Motors’ truck owner forwards me their story regarding problems with brake line rust, a problem that executives at GM refuse to acknowledge. One recent such correspondence tells of one of the highest repair bills that I have heard of relating to corrosion and failed brake lines. Repairs were made to the vehicle after the owner narrowly avoided an accident as a result of failed brakes due to the corroded brake lines.

Marsha Joiner from Virginia sent me a copy of the invoice from her Manassas GMC dealership for repairs to her 2005 GMC Yukon. The whopping total for repairs directly related to corrosion from brake lines was a staggering $3,600. Her ordeal (along with other examples) has also been recently reported on by Consumer Affairs as they continue to be one of the few media outlets and consumer advocacy organizations that question the safety of …

Does NHTSA Protect the Public, or GM and UAW?

David FriedmanThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) faced some of its heaviest criticism to date last week on Capitol Hill. Hearings addressing the failings of the agency were headed by Senator Claire McCaskill and centered around NHTSA’s part in General Motors’ deadly ignition switch recall delay. The death toll (currently at 20) continues to rise as a result of GM and NHTSA allowing the dangerously defective vehicles to remain on the roads for about 10 years from when the problem was first recognized. While the criticism of NHTSA is well-deserved, it is past time for harsh words to be accompanied by an overhaul of the agency.

Senator McCaskill has stated that an overhaul is exactly what she intends to accomplish according to a NY Times report on the hearings. From that piece:

In an interview after the hearing, Ms. McCaskill vowed to continue working on legislation to overhaul the

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