Probe Of GM Recall Failure Finds 'Incompetence And Neglect'

GM CEO Mary Barra has reported the findings of a probe into the company's failure to recall vehicles with faulty ignition switches.

Probe Of GM Recall Failure Finds 'Incompetence And Neglect'
General Motors / Steve Fecht

Incompetence and neglect are two words you generally don't want to hear in an internal investigation of your company — but a report on General Motors' 11-year failure to recall millions of defective cars found just that.

In April, GM CEO Mary Barra asked former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas to conduct a thorough probe into the company's failure to recall cars with defective ignition switches that were linked to 13 deaths. (Via C-SPAN)

​Barra revealed the results of the probe in a live broadcast Thursday at the company's Warren, Michigan, technical center. She said the report found a "pattern of incompetence and neglect." (Via Time)

"I can tell you the report is extremely thorough, brutally tough and deeply troubling. ... As I read the report, I was deeply saddened and disturbed." (Via General Motors)

According to Barra, Valukas interviewed more than 230 people and reviewed millions of pages of documents. Fifteen employees were dismissed, including Ray DeGiorgio, the engineer who authorized the ignition switch redesign in 2006.

According to the Detroit Free Press, DeGiorgio's authorization neglected to change the part number on the defective switches, something that could have led to an earlier recall.

The faulty switches were vulnerable to being turned off during a crash due to a heavy set of keys, something that would also disable lifesaving air bags. (Via Consumer Reports)

USA Today reports Barra told the media, "GM will compensate 'everyone who has lost a loved one or suffered a serious injury' as a result of the defect." 

And The Washington Post notes, GM has hired a mediation specialist to construct a compensation fund for those families but is not expected to announce the the fund's details for several weeks.

An analyst at Bloomberg found it interesting that Barra called on employees to become whistle blowers to their supervisors or even to herself directly if there was any issue pressing enough.

"I think its very interesting, and it's not just a change at GM, but this is an industry-wide shift. They want to do recalls as quickly as they can, as many as they can — get them out of the way."

The U.S. Department of Transportation has already fined GM $35 million for failing to report the defects in a timely manner.