GM Lays Off 15 Employees Over Delayed Ignition Switch Scandal

General Motors CEO Mary Barra 1 photo
Photo: GM
According to the extremely "thorough, brutally tough" and "deeply troubling" Valukas report, the 13 fatally injured connected to GM's faulty ignition switches lead the automaker to describe itself as being careless and incompetent over this matter.
Further more, the automaker fired 15 employees connected to the ignition switch fiasco, including the engineers that developed the faulty component, while 5 other will be "disciplined" for their roles in this scandal.

Although the aforementioned results were more or less to be expected, GM CEO Mary Barra absolved the top management of General Motors of any fault in a recent employee meeting, passing responsibility for the lives lost and safety issues to lower ranking employees.

Compiled by Chicago-based attorney Anton "Tony" Valukas, the 315-page report released by federal officials portrays heavily overworked and cost-concerned engineers connected to the faulty ignition switches fitted to circa 2.6 million GM vehicles. A pretty big example of how the aforementioned were treated is that at a certain point, engineers tested Chevy Cobalt switches using a fish scale.

Back in February 2007, Wisconsin State Trooper Keith Young filed a crash report on a Chevrolet Cobalt accident in which the driver was killed due to airbags that didn't deploy accordingly because the key got stuck in the "accessory" position. This was the first time someone outside GM linked the faulty ignition switch issue to fatal car crashes, but most General Motors employees didn't know about this mess-up until this year.

More worryingly, a small number of engineers first hinted back in 2001 that these ignition switches might prove hazardous, but GM top management didn't seem to be bothered to start investigating into this matter. We also deem necessary to underline that GM CEO Mary Barra was the head of vehicle development for three years during the period when the life-threatening fault was intentionally neglected.

"Together, we have to understand that the attitudes and practices that allowed this failure to occur will not be tolerated,” Barra declared after Valukas report findings were made public. “Also, if we think that cleaning up this problem and making a few process changes will be enough, we are badly mistaken. Our job is not just to fix the problem. Our job must be to set a new industry standard for safety, quality, and excellence.”
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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