Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
January 25, 2012
Today, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending (gesundheit!) held its hearing on the Chevrolet Volt and investigation done by NHTSA. The hearing titled - "Volt Vehicle Fire: What did NHTSA Know and When Did They Know It?" showed the committee led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wasn't here to mess around.
First to testify was NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. Strickland defended the agency's decision not to talk about the fire in a crash-tested Volt for more than five months, saying that it would have been "irresponsible" to disclose the fire before the agency had determined whether the Volt posed a risk to safety.
Strickland also said replicating the initial fire was "difficult" and took a "tremendous amount of engineering" to produce a second fire in laboratory conditions.
Next to testify was General Motors CEO and chairman Dan Akerson testified to the committee that the Volt is a safe vehicle and it has become "political punching bag."
"We engineered the Volt to show the world the great vehicles we make at General Motors. Although we loaded the Volt with state of the art safety features, we did not engineer the Volt to be a political punching bag. Sadly that is what it's become." Akerson said.
Akerson also told the comittee that GM never asked the White House to keep the Volt Fire that happen in June a secret and never had disscussions with the White House about the Volt.
When asked how he got to hearings, Akerson said he drove a Volt.
Issa said after the hearings he's satisfied with GM's response but now plans to focus on NHTSA.
"We are disappointed. NHTSA could have been a much better job both in transparency and speed. When you have a new vehicle, it's better to take a pause," said Issa.