GM Ordered Replacement Ignition Switches Months Before Filing for the First February Recall

It pains every petrolhead out there to face the cold truth, but GM did a lot of condemnable acts in recent years. Of course, we are referring to the mad cost-cutting of the early 2000s, which ultimately resulted in a 2014 recall tally that surpasses 30 million cars.
GM ignition assembly parts inspected 1 photo
Photo: GM
With this latest episode of the General Motors recall saga, things are getting even more critical and condemnable for Mary Barra and co. A recent report from The Wall Street Journal is telling that the American automaker has ordered half a million replacement ignition switches in December 2013 from Delphi Automotive. Have a wild guess why...’re right. GM knew it was going to issue the February 7th recall, the one that started the saga. As a brief reminder, this campaign covered over 800,000 units of the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5. Later in February a second recall was announced, adding 600,000 Chevrolet HHR, Saturn Ion, Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice vehicles to the mix.

The most worrying thing of all is that the recall population is related to numerous crashes that ended up very badly for the drivers and occupants. And yes, we're referring to dozens of death cases as well.

E-mails were provided by supplier Delphi in connection to a court case involving the first recall

According to the bits of digital data, a GM employee told Delphi to urgently build 500,000 ignition switches one day before General Motors executives met to discuss the problem. These guys knew what was happening and yet they kept their mouths shut and didn’t even talk with the NHTSA about it.

So what’s the cherry on the top on this new turn in the General Motors recall saga? Well, these findings contradict what General Motors told the media in February, highlighting that the company hadn’t decided on a recall during that December meeting although it knew about the consequences.

Although there’s no recorded audio or video, a handful of attendees claimed the opposite of what Mary Barra blatantly told the media. It’s such a pity how General Motors is now, considering it could’ve stopped this from happening back in 2003, when engineers first signaled the ignition switch problem.

UPDATE from General Motors: the following is an official statement on The Wall Street Journal story recounting email traffic regarding ignition switch parts used to repair older model small cars.

"These emails are further confirmation that our system needed reform, and we have done so. We have reorganized our entire safety investigation and decision process and have more investigators, move issues more quickly and make decisions with better data.

How it works today:

• Potential issue review with appropriate data to determine whether further investigation is warranted.

• Open investigation review recommends for or against a recall or other field action

• A group of senior leaders quickly decides whether or not a recall is warranted"
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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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