New documents released by congressional investigators last week are putting some doubt onto GM's own internal investigation and legal proceedings. The Wall Street Journal reports that new documents show Doug Parks, vice president of product programs was aware of the ignition switch problems on the Chevrolet Cobalt as early as 2005.
At the time, Parks was the chief engineer on the Cobalt and Saturn Ion. On May 2, 2005, he was involved in a email chain with a dealer over a customer wanting the dealer to buy back his vehicle because the ignition switch moves out of the "run" position too easily. Parks responded by suggesting "coming up with a plug" to place on the key to reduce the weight and stop the switch from turning.
"This appears to me to be the only real, quick solution," Parks said in the email.
“As Ms. Barra has said repeatedly we have taken all of the personnel actions that we feel are appropriate at this time,” GM Spokesman Greg Martin told Bloomberg.
These documents could cause big problems for GM's legal battles. The Consumerist explains that lawyers could argue that the lack of a recall, particularly when a former chief engineer and current vice president knew of this issue, could give some credence that the company was trying to cover up this problem.