Our view: General Motors has a long way to go

DKS editors

Last week, General Motors chief executive officer Mary T. Barra was fiercely questioned by lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the automaker’s failure to fix a serious defect in many of its vehicles’ ignition switches.

These faulty ignition switches can be knocked and turned off while driving — disabling power steering, power braking and the airbags.  The issue has caused the deaths of at least 13 motorists who drove cars such as Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac G5s, Chevrolet HHRs and Saturn Ions, leading to the recall of 2.6 million cars made by GM.

Monday marked the first day that GM made replacement parts available for affected vehicles. However, it isn’t clear whether car dealerships are in a position to perform these repairs.  

GM spokesman Alan Adler also said Monday he didn’t know the number of replacement parts that were shipped to dealerships or when most of the parts would be available.  He added that GM expects to complete all repairs by October.  

While the automaker claims to be taking steps to solve the issue, GM also acknowledged it has known about these issues for nearly a decade; in 2004 and 2005, engineers submitted proposals to repair the switches in Saturn Ions, Cobalts and other cars, but the changes were never implemented. However, GM says upper management only became aware of the issue last year.

We think it’s ridiculous that the same company that was once bailed out by the government with taxpayer money would be anything less than completely transparent about the events leading up to the recall.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that GM has taken responsibility for a defect in its vehicles that caused 13 deaths, yet the company has yet to fire any of its employees on connection with the recall.  

Furthermore, some consumer advocates and lawmakers have urged GM to warn owners not to drive affected cars until they are fixed.

However, GM has said the affected cars are safe to drive, “if you remove everything from your key ring except the ignition key, to eliminate unnecessary weight.”

GM has a lot of retributions to make in the coming months; it is their obligation to the public to maintain accountability. We can only hope the company’s lack of oversight doesn’t lead to any more casualties.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.