By FITSNEWS || Government Motors placed an “urgent” order for half a million new ignition switches for Chevrolet Cobalts and other small model cars – two months before it alerted federal regulators to a deadly defect associated with the vehicles.
According to company emails, the emergency rush order for the new ignition switches was placed on December 18 of last year – a day after company executives discussed the problem at a meeting. The executive in charge of purchasing for GM at the time? Current CEO Mary Barra – who had just been tapped to lead the company.
GM didn’t inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the deadly defect – or order a recall of affected vehicles – until February 2014.
The ignition switch emails – referenced in this report in The Wall Street Journal – shred the credibility of Barra, who testified before Congress earlier this year that she wasn’t informed of the defect until late December.
They also shred the credibility of a report prepared by Chicago attorney Anton Valukas – which cleared Barra and two other top GM executives of any wrongdoing related to the scandal.
The defect – which prompted rolling recalls beginning back in February – caused select vehicles to slip out of their “drive” position, disabling critical braking, power steering and air bag functions (i.e. everything you need to avoid crashing your car). At least thirty people have died as a result.
“This is simply mind-blowing in its raw evilness,” an attorney who is suing GM on behalf of victims and their families said of the latest revelations.
Barra took the reins of GM – which has received billions of dollars in taxpayer funding – in January 2014. Shortly thereafter she was praised by U.S. president Barack Obama in his State of the Union address.
“Our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams,” Obama said of Barra. “It’s how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest automaker.”
The federal government owned as much as 61 percent of GM following its 2008-09 bailout – but sold its last shares of the company in December 2013 at a loss of $10 billion.