General Motors CEO Mary Barra received an email in 2011 altering her to steering problems in cars that were recalled last month, Reuters reports:
GM CEO received email in 2011 discussing steering problems in troubled GM models that were later recalled: document
— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) April 11, 2014
On March 31, GM announced it would recall more than 1.3 million cars “that may experience a sudden loss of electric power steering assist.” Affected models were made between 2004 and 2010, by GM’s Chevrolet, Saturn, and Pontiac brands.
The steering issue is separate from problems with the faulty ignition switches on 2.2 million cars that can flip out of the “run” position while the car is moving, turning off the engine, cutting some electric power, and disabling the airbags.
The automaker has been under fire in recent weeks over its delayed response to that issue (linked to 13 deaths), so news that Barra personally knew of an issue years before action was taken opens GM to more criticism of how it handles safety issues.
It’s still unclear why the automaker took so long to acknowledge and address the ignition switch problem. GM has placed two engineers on paid leave, “an interim step” in its own investigation into the botched recall.
On Tuesday, the government announced a $US28,000 civil penalty against GM for failing to respond fully to a request for information related to the recall before the set deadline. It will continue to fine GM $US7,000 per day until the automaker fully answers all the questions asked.
Despite the recall charge, GM “expects to report solid core operating performance in the first quarter financial results,” it said in a statement earlier this week.
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