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NHTSA: GM had critical information that would have helped identify defect

The acting administrator will raise questions about the information GM provided while reporting the recall in February.
By Ananth Baliga   |   April 1, 2014 at 11:22 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) -- The NHTSA's acting administrator will look to cast blame on General Motors when he testifies before the House subcommittee investigating GM's vehicle recall.

David Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in his written testimony, submitted before the hearing, argues that serious questions have been raised about the timeliness of GM's recall and and information in GM's chronology of events raises serious questions.

“G.M. had critical information that would have helped identify this defect,” said Friedman.

While written testimony is never read out in its entirety, it is a matter of public record and sets the tone for the Q&A session with members of Congress.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra will also testify Tuesday, and sounded apologetic in her written testimony but provided no answers as to why GM failed to act on the ignition problem.

“Sitting here today, I cannot tell you why it took years for a safety defect to be announced,” she says in her filed testimony.

Barra made attempts to mollify customers by saying that dealers have been informed that if customers aren't comfortable driving the recalled cars, they could get a loaner car or a rental car from a GM dealer. She also said “if a customer is already looking for another car, dealers can provide an additional cash allowance for the purchase or lease of a new vehicle.”

Her comments come a day after GM announced another recall, involving 1.5 million cars because of a possible power steering failure. GM’s total for the year now stands at 6.3 million recalls worldwide.

[Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations]
[The New York Times]

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