Mar 3, 2014
GM is recalling more than 1.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches that cause airbags not to deploy in crashes. At least 13 people have died as a result of this problem. GM has known about it since 2004, after receiving a report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a vehicle losing power after an ignition key moved out of place in a new Cobalt. GM replicated this problem in testing – ten years ago! They opted not to fix the problem.
GM initially tried to justify their decision not to recall by claiming most deaths were at high speeds and that some involved alcohol. Now they are saying it’s due to heavy keys. The NHTSA had told GM that keys were found in the wrong position, meaning the keys were able to slip on their own and thus prevent airbag deployment in these crashes.
According to documents GM submitted to the NHTSA, GM claimed that “after consideration of the lead time required, cost and effectiveness of each of the solutions,” GM decided not to recall the cars involved. So the cheapest solution for GM was to ignore the problem, letting people die. Recalling the cars would not be “cost-effective!”