The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is demanding that General Motors hands over extensive information about how the auto giant is handling the recall of the 1.6 million cars that have ignition switch issues. This issue led to 13 deaths and 31 crashes. When these vehicles are in rough terrain, the engine could switch off and the air bags may not have deployed.
A federal auto safety agency sent the NHTSA a 27-page list of 107 questions on Tuesday to seek records, drawings, e-mails, and other details about two recalls announced last month. NHTSA general counsel O. Kevin Vincent sent a request to GM director of product investigations Carmen Benavides. GM is required to respond by April 3rd. The letter was made public by the NHTSA on Wednesday.
U.S. Congress and the Justice Department may get involved and there could be a criminal investigation. The NHTSA is seeking the total number of complaints from consumers and fired reports from dealers along with lawsuits that are pending and closed. The government wants an update on the number of injuries or deaths involved from the issue. GM has to disclose how many warranty claims were related to the defect. The NHTSA is asking for precise details on how the ignition switch defect disables air bags.
?We are a data-driven organization, and we will take whatever action is appropriate based on where our findings lead us,? stated the agency. If GM does not fully comply, they could face a fine of up to $35 million or face criminal prosecution.
?We are fully cooperating with NHTSA and we welcome the opportunity to help the agency have a full understanding of the facts,? stated GM spokesman Alan Adler. ?In addition to getting NHTSA the information they need, we are doing what we can now to ensure our customers? safety and peace of mind. We want our customers to know that today?s GM is committed to fixing this problem in a manner that earns their trust.?
[Source: Detroit News]