GM’s Latest “Poor” Attempt to Win Back Public Favor
General Motors’ latest move to win back the public’s trust was to fire 15 top-level executives in the first month of June ’14. Fired were executives the company claims knew all along about the defective ignition switches installed on over 2.6 million vehicles: killing at least 13 people, causing numerous injuries, and costing GM vehicle owners untold dollars in repairs and unjust out-of-warranty repairs that should have been absorbed by the company.
This was after GM hired former federal prosecutor, Anton Valukas, to investigate who at GM may have known about the ignition switch problem and kept it swept under the rug.
Valukas wrote a 315 page report which shed light on the depths to which the recall deception ran within the car-maker’s upper-rung of corporate management:
“Group after group and committee after committee within GM that reviewed the issue failed to take action or acted too slowly. Although everyone had responsibility to fix the problem, nobody took responsibility.”
Mary Barra, who was just appointed the position of CEO early this year, but who has worked in GM corporate for over 30 year, was left out of the disciplinary fray. Valukas’ report showed she took no outwardly obvious part in the cover up.
15 take the fall for the actions of many
The unlucky 15 includes senior legal team members and engineers who “failed to disclose the defect,” according to Mary Barra.
One can only assume the treachery, which has led to 13 confirmed deaths and countless injuries, goes way beyond only 15 people.
It’s indeed a shame the auto-maker thinks so little of its customers that they expect us to believe a company that employs millions worldwide would have only 15 execs privy to the ignition problem, which managed to go unreported for over a decade.
The Valukas’ report showed quite convincingly that the corporate culture around GM over the years has been one of saving money – going as far as to say the company seems to have an unwritten rule about sending reports of potentially-expensive safety issues up the chain of command in headquarters for fear of retribution from the top.
Scary times for GM in the coming months
It seems like the company’s attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of the buying public are just that: an attempt.
Certainly not a successful one as yet.
Lawyers putting together a class-action lawsuit for wrongful death and injury against the car maker put the real death toll from the scandal at 60, and still growing as new people come forward (see more here.)
While it’s important to find the party responsible for this obvious crime, GM’s latest firing is appears more than a desperately poor attempt to win back public favor and nothing more.