GM to Pay $900 million over Faulty Ignition Switches
September 25th, 2015 | By: Walker Advertising | Posted in: From the CEO
General Motors (GM) will pay $900 million as part of a deal with federal regulators to resolve a criminal investigation into its faulty ignition switches. Under the deal, prosecution will be deferred for three years, at which point the charges will be dropped if GM complies with the terms of the deal. There is evidence that GM knew the risks posed by the faulty ignition switches and concealed this information for more than a decade. The switches could slip from the on position, cutting power to the vehicle.
Lawyers in charge of GM’s fund to compensate victims of the faulty switches say the defect caused at least 124 fatalities and 275 injuries. I wouldn’t be surprised if the true numbers are far higher.
I’m glad GM was punished for knowingly placing victims in harm’s way, but the deal did not go nearly far enough. This is a company that essentially killed—and admits to killing—at least 124 people. Many of these people died after GM knew about the problem, and it buried the information anyway. The least the Justice Department could do was charge the individual employees who concealed the information but, at least for now, no charges are forthcoming. The department reserved the right to levy such charges in the future, but I’m not holding my breath.
Many of the victim’s families were disgruntled with the outcome as well, at least according to an article by The New York Times. In defending the settlement, the Justice Department highlighted GM’s cooperation since management disclosed the defect in 2014. Cooperation should not make up for past misdeeds.
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