G.M. told families of victims who’d died driving now-recalled models that it did not have evidence of a defect in the cars, even when it did, the New York Times reports.
GM has since recalled 3.1 million units covering five different models over the past two months shown to have faulty ignition switches. The Times has linked the vehicles to more than 300 deaths over 10 years.
“At a meeting on May 15, 2009, they learned that data in the black boxes of Chevrolet Cobalts confirmed a potentially fatal defect existed in hundreds of thousands of cars,” the Times’ Hilary Stout, Bill Vlasic, Danielle Ivory and Rebecca Ruiz write.
Yet the engineers sat on the results.
A New York Times review of 19…accidents — where victims were identified through interviews with survivors, family members, lawyers and law enforcement officials — found that G.M. pushed back against families in at least two of the accidents, and reached settlements that required the victims to keep the discussions confidential.
In one case, the Times says, the auto giant threatened to come after a family for reimbursement of legal fees if they did not withdraw their lawsuit. Another time the firm sent a letter stating there was no basis for their claims.
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