The bad news for General Motors continues to flow in.
The Detroit News reported yesterday morning that GM has put two of its engineers, Gary Altman and Ray DeGiorgio on paid leave as part of as part of a continuing internal investigation into the ignition switch recall. The two engineers were singled out during the congressional hearings as members of congress were very dubious as to why the company hadn't fired anyone at the moment.
In a statement released today, GM CEO Mary Barra said the decision came after an update from Anton Valukas, the former U.S. attorney who is currently overseeing an independent investigation over the recall.
“This is an interim step as we seek the truth about what happened. It was a difficult decision, but I believe it is best for GM,” said Barra.
Altman and DeGiorgio played key parts in some of the recalled vehicles. Altman was the program engineering manager on the Chevrolet Cobalt through May 2005, while DeGiorgio was project engineer responsible for the ignition switch on the Cobalt and Ion. DeGiorgio's name first came up when Senator Claire McCaskill D-MO revealed a document with his name authorizing the part change to the ignition. This contradicts testimony given by him last year where he stated he didn't know about the change.
Later in the day, GM announced an expansion of the ignition switch recall to include the replacement of the ignition cylinder and if necessary, cut new keys. The automaker says it is aware of several hundred complaints of keys coming out of the ignition while the vehicle is running.
Source: The Detroit News, General Motors
Press Release is on Page 2
GM to Replace Lock Cylinder During Ignition Switch Recall
- Second repair added to vehicles recalled earlier
DETROIT – General Motors informed the NHTSA today that it is adding ignition lock cylinders to its safety recall of 2.2 million older model cars in the United States. The cylinders can allow removal of the ignition key while the engine is running, leading to a possible rollaway, crash and occupant or pedestrian injuries.
As always, owners of manual transmission vehicles should be sure the ignition is in the “Off” position and set to reverse gear with the parking brake set before removing the key. Owners of vehicles with automatic transmission should be sure the vehicle is in “Park” before removing the key.
GM is aware of several hundred complaints of keys coming out of ignitions. Searches of GM and government databases found one rollaway in a parking lot that resulted in a crash and one injury claim. The same searches turned up no fatalities.
GM has decided to replace the ignition lock cylinders and cut and, if necessary, reprogram new keys.
The cars covered are model years:
- 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
- 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
- 2007-2010 Pontiac G5
- 2007-2010 Saturn Sky
- 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
All of these cars were recalled in recent weeks for ignition switches that may fail to meet GM’s torque specification. The ignition switch may unintentionally move from the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” position with a corresponding reduction or loss of power. This risk may be increased if the key ring is carrying added weight or if the vehicle goes off the road or experiences some other jarring event. The timing of the key movement out of the “run” position, relative to the activation of the sensing algorithm of the crash event, may result in the airbags not deploying, increasing the potential for occupant injury in certain kinds of crashes.
Until recall repairs are made, it is very important that customers remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the vehicle key. If there is a key fob, it also should be removed from the key ring.
GM also announced Thursday that the company expects to take a charge of approximately $1.3 billion in the first quarter, primarily for the cost of recall-related repairs announced in the 2014 calendar year to date and related courtesy transportation. This amount includes the $750 million charge previously announced on March 31.
On a preliminary basis, despite the $1.3 billion recall charge, GM currently expects to report solid core operating performance in the first quarter financial results.