DeGette Leads Public Investigation Into GM Ignition Switch Tragedy

Apr 1, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1) presided as Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee’s hearing on the recent General Motors (GM) recall of over 2.5 million vehicles linked to defective ignition switches.  The committee heard testimony today from GM CEO Mary Barra and National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) Acting Administrator David Friedman.
“Internally, GM opened multiple investigations into the ignition switch issue, each of which concluded that the switch was bad. In 2005, GM identified solutions to the problem, but concluded that quote, ‘the tooling cost and piece price are too high … thus, none of the solutions represents an acceptable business case.’ Documents provided by GM show that this unacceptable cost increase was only 57 cents.”

The document provided by GM can be found here

Rep. DeGette presents one of the faulty ignition switches used in several GM models

“GM knew about this problem in 2001 and received more than 130 warranty claims from owners about this problem over the next decade.  But GM never informed the public or reported the problem to federal safety regulators."

VIDEO: Rep. DeGette's Opening Statement


“Company officials quietly redesigned the switch, but they did it in secret and they never changed the part number.  The company put even more cars with bad switches on the road from 2008-2011. Between 2003 and 2014, GM learned of hundreds of reports of ignition switch problems – through customer complaints, warranty claims, lawsuits, press coverage, field reports, and even more internal investigations. But time and time again, GM did nothing.  The company continued to sell cars knowing they were unsafe – and more than a dozen people are now dead because of this defect."

VIDEO: Rep. DeGette questions GM CEO Mary Barra

"Here is what we know. We know that GM has recalled over 2.5 million vehicles because of defective ignition switches.  We know they should have done it much, much earlier.  We know that GM failed to provide federal regulators with key information.  And we know that at least 13 people are dead, and that there have been dozens of crashes because GM produced cars that had a deadly defect.”

“I know some of those families are here today, and I want to express my deepest sympathies. I want to tell them something more. We are going to get to the bottom of this, we are going to figure out what happened and we are going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”