GM Asked to Recall 6 Million Chevy Silverados and Other Vehicles for Brake Corrosion Problem

Mary BarraHere’s the text of a letter I sent today to GM CEO Mary Barra. As I indicate, we welcomed her affirmative response to our request last month for a recall of a separate set of vehicles with a different problem.

Dear Ms. Barra:

We ask General Motors (the Company) to recall model years 1999 through 2003 for the following vehicles: Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Sierra, GMC Tahoe and GMC Yukon.

These six million pickups and SUVs endanger the lives and safety of their owners due to a loss of braking related to brake line corrosion.

According to an ongoing investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it has received 890 complaints of brake line corrosion involving 13 crashes and two injuries. From the summary:

In approximately 25 percent of the complaints, the brake pipe failure has allegedly occurred suddenly, with no warning to the driver

Read More ➡

Another NHTSA GM Investigation – Chevy Silverados with Rusted Brakes

Silverado rusted brakesIt looks like there is yet another problem with GM vehicles that has been left unresolved. Chevy Silverados and other GM vehicles are being investigated for brake line corrosion by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA reports 890 complaints for brake failure resulting from “brake pipe corrosion.”

Following is an excerpt from the NHTSA website regarding the investigation:

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received Defect Petition DP10-003 on March 2, 2010, requesting the investigation of model year (MY) 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4WD pickup trucks for corrosion failures of the vehicle brake lines. DP10-003 was granted and on March 30, 2010, Preliminary Evaluation PE10-010 was opened on more than six million model year 1999 through 2003 light trucks and sport utility vehicles manufactured and sold by General Motors Corporation (GM)…

…Of the 890 total complaints for brake pipe corrosion identified, 761 were located in Salt Belt states

Read More ➡

NYC Councilman Ruben Wills Busted

Ruben WillsNew York City Councilman Ruben Wills of Queens was arrested today on corruption charges, the latest New York politician to be caught up in investigations apparently triggered by NLPC. According to the New York Daily News:

Wills had been under investigation by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli over tens of thousands of dollars in missing state funds given to a not-for-profit group he once headed, New York 4 Life.

Wills was chief-of staff to former State Senator Shirley Huntley when she arranged for “member items,” the New York State equivalent of an earmark, to Wills’ group.  He apparently took a page out of Huntley’s book.

Huntley was arrested in 2012 after a New York Post story, based on information provided by NLPC, detailed how she siphoned off money for personal use from a group that she founded called The Parents Workshop, for which she … Read More ➡

Duke Energy’s Clean Coal Plant Coughed, Wheezed in Feb.

Duke EdwardsportAfter the global warming-battling Edwardsport coal gasification power plant used more power than it generated during the September-to-November timeframe, earlier this month information filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission showed the Duke Energy facility operated at less than 1 percent of capacity in February.

As Duke wants to recover $1.5 million in costs related to the plant, the state office that advocates for its customers – the Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor – wants IURC to more closely scrutinize why Edwardsport’s operation has been such a miserable failure. The much-delayed and fought-over plant had a $1.4 billion cost overrun and as a result is adding an average 16 percent increase to Hoosier State customers’ electric bills.

“The ratepayers of Duke Energy should not be mandated to bear the risks and most of the costs of this boondoggle,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition, to … Read More ➡

Recall Expense Not Reason For GM’s Poor Earnings

head in sandGeneral Motors reported lackluster first quarter earnings’ results as the company took a $1.3 billion charge related to recalls. Most of the expenses for the approximately 7 million vehicles recalled, however, were not actually incurred during the first quarter.

In addition, the $1.3 billion figure is far lower than what the recall will cost GM. The power steering recall alone of about 1.5 million vehicles (which was prompted by NLPC’s exposure of the recall delay) is likely to cost more than that. The estimated cost for replacement of power steering columns is in the area of $1,300 per unit, bringing the total for this single recall to roughly $2 billion. That doesn’t include loaner cars.

There will also be legal costs and settlements which are likely to measure in the billions of dollars. Regardless of the extend of what the total costs of GM’s recent recalls will be, … Read More ➡

GM Must Answer for Blaming Accident Victims

crashed carGeneral Motors still has many questions to answer regarding the recall scandal that saw at least 13 lives lost in accidents involving vehicles with deadly ignition switch defects. GM waited over 10 years to recall the defective vehicles. The company now needs to answer for a seeming lack of compassion for the victims. GM initially blamed drivers of defective vehicles involved in fatal crashes by falsely implying that all of the accidents occurred while driving off-road.  

In February of this year, when news of the GM ignition switch recall surfaced, the claim from GM was that all of the crashes caused by the defective switches “occurred off-road and at high speeds.” Here’s the full explanation as reported by the NY Times:

General Motors is recalling about 619,000 small cars in the United States because either a heavy key ring or a “jarring event” such as running off the road

Read More ➡

Obama Overtime Mandate on Behalf of Salaried Employees Likely to Backfire

Is paying someone an annual salary, as opposed to an hourly wage, a form of exploitation even if the work is identical? President Obama thinks it can be. On March 13, Obama issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Labor to draft a regulation to expand the eligibility of salaried workers to receive overtime pay. The threshold would rise from the current $455 a week to an estimated $970 a week; employees making less effectively would be converted to hourly status and paid at an overtime rate for work done beyond 40 hours in a given week. The president insists the issue is fairness. “Overtime is a pretty simple idea,” he said at the White House ceremony. “If you have to work more, you should get paid more.” Yet the issue isn’t so simple. Indeed, the mandate may wind up reducing employee hours – and increasing employee lawsuits.… Read More ➡

GM CEO Barra Knew About Steering Defect in 2011

BarraAccording to documents released today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, General Motors CEO Mary Barra was made aware in 2011 of a steering loss defect in Saturn Ions that were not recalled until March 31 of this year, in apparent response to our request of March 19.

We made the recall demand after NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica found a glaring anomaly while examining documents on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. NHTSA had ordered a recall in March 2010 of Chevy Cobalts and Pontiac G5s for the steering loss defect but three years later had not yet ordered a recall of Saturn Ions, which have the same power steering system.

Barra has denied having knowledge of an ignition switch flaw but has not said anything about the steering loss defect, which is a separate problem that affects many of the same vehicles, such as the … Read More ➡

Former Countrywide Trader Behind Fannie/Freddie ‘Reform’ Bill

Countrywide signAlana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon today reports that Michael Bright, a senior advisor to Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) who was instrumental in crafting a bill to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has a controversial background.

He worked as at Countrywide Financial from 2002 to 2006, and as a senior trader for Wachovia from 2006 to 2008. Countrywide was the center of a major financial and political scandal, and was a major contributor to the sub-prime loan crisis.

From the article:

Bright joined Corker’s office in 2010, and has been a key figure in crafting the Corker-Warner housing reform bill and the successive legislation spearheaded by Sens. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) and Tim Johnson (D., S.D.).

The Corker-Warner bill has been criticized by ethics groups and free-market advocates for preserving a federal role in the secondary mortgage market, again putting taxpayers on the hook for losses.

Also … Read More ➡

Renewed Spotlight on Salomon Melgen, Sen. Menendez’ Biggest Donor

Melgen MenendezIt took a lawsuit by the Wall Street Journal to pry loose information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about which doctors get Medicare reimbursements.

An lo and behold, look who is topping the list. It is Dr. Salomon Melgen, Senator Robert Menendez’ biggest donor, whose eye practice in Palm Beach, Florida has been twice raided by the FBI. Apparently, Melgen was the top recipient of Medicare reimbursements for the whole county. In 2012, he received more than $20 million. The news has put renewed scrutiny on Melgen and his relationship with Menendez, which is reportedly under investigation by federal law enforcement authorities.

The probe was reportedly initiated after media reports that Menendez intervened on Melgen’s behalf with government officials regarding a Medicare billing dispute and a port security deal in the Dominican Republic.

Based on information provided by NLPC, the New York Times first reported on February … Read More ➡