In what can be seen as part of the tough stance the US takes on vehicle safety issues, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has fined General Motors $35 million (Rs. 208 crore) for failing to report in a timely manner the ignition switch defect on over 2.2 million cars.
On April 10, 2014, GM had informed the NHTSA today that it was adding ignition lock cylinders to its safety recall of 2.2 million older model cars in the United States. The cylinders can allow removal of the ignition key, while the engine is running, leading to a possible rollaway, crash and occupant or pedestrian injuries. The company says it will replace the ignition lock cylinders and cut and, if necessary, reprogram new keys. The cars covered are model years 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt , 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, 2007-2010 Saturn Sky, and 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR.
“We have learned a great deal from this recall. We will now focus on the goal of becoming an industry leader in safety,” said GM CEO Mary Barra. “We will emerge from this situation a stronger company.”
Working with NHTSA, GM has already begun reviewing processes and policies to avoid future recalls of this nature. “We are working hard to improve our ability to identify and respond to safety issues,” said Jeff Boyer, vice-president of Global Vehicle Safety, who is assigned to integrate safety policies across the company. “Among other efforts, GM has created a new group, the Global Product Integrity unit, to innovate our safety oversight; we are encouraging and empowering our employees to raise their hands to address safety concerns through our Speak Up for Safety initiative, and we have set new requirements for our engineers to attain Black Belt certification through Design for Six Sigma.”