According to the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, "their testimony is critical to understanding what the company and NHTSA knew about the safety problems, when they knew it, and what was done about it."
"The problems originated long before Barra and Friedman took the helms of their respective organizations, but their actions and input now, as our investigation proceeds, will be essential to getting answers about what went wrong," the US House added in its statement.
General Motors has recalled about 1.6 million vehicles globally to replace a faulty ignition switch that may move out of the run position do to the weight of the key ring, turning of the engine and preventing the air bags to deploy in the event of a crash.
In the United States, GM recalled 1.3 million units of the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007 Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and 2006-2007 Saturn Sky. Additionally, the automaker recalled the 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit in Canada and the 2007 Opel GT in Europe.
The action began last month, but some sources claim that General Motors knew about the ignition switch problem since 2004. The defect was linked to 13 deaths, but a study conducted by the Fredman Research Corporation claims that 303 people were killed in these vehicles.