General Motors has come under the spotlight due to its recall of 13.8 million vehicles in the United States, including those sold in Texas. This has included the most recent recall of 500 new pickup trucks and SUVs due to an airbag malfunction and 2.6 million vehicles due to a faulty ignition that has led to 13 deaths.
The most recent calamity to hit GM was the faulty ignition defect. The defect led to a situation where key rings holding more than one key could cause the ignition to switch to the accessory position or the off position. That could lead to the loss of power, including power steering and breaking, as well as preventing airbags from deploying in the event of a front-impact crash.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM was aware of the defect prior to 2014, but chose to do something about it only this year. The agency criticized GM for waiting so long, noting that the families and friends of those killed as a result “deserve straight answers about what happened.” In response, GM claims that it has launched a new unit that will quickly uncover any safety defects and issue recall notices for the applicable vehicles. For delaying the recall of vehicles with ignition problems, GM will pay a fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of $35 million. That is unlikely to be the last time GM issues a payout, given that many families of those killed will probably file wrongful death lawsuits. Some believe that the lawsuits against GM could force the company to pay out as much as $10 billion.