GM recalls 1.5 million more vehicles; CEO says 'terrible things happened'

Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:15am EDT
 
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By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co announced new recalls of 1.5 million vehicles on Monday and in a virtually unprecedented public admission by a GM chief executive, Mary Barra acknowledged the company fell short in catching faulty ignition switches linked to 12 deaths.

"Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened," she told employees in a video message posted online. Barra said the company is changing how it handles defect investigations and recalls.

In the last two months, GM has recalled more than 3.1 million vehicles in the United States and other markets. The actions started with last month's recall of more than 1.6 million vehicles for faulty ignition switches. The latest recalls cover airbag wiring harnesses, brake parts and other components across several models.

The Detroit automaker said on Monday it would take a $300 million charge in the first quarter, primarily to cover the costs related to the ignition-switch recall and the three new recalls.

Barra previously apologized for GM's failure to catch the faulty ignition switches sooner. In Monday's video, she said GM is "conducting an intense review of our internal processes and will have more developments to announce as we move forward."

The decade-long process that led to last month's ignition-switch recall of such older GM models as the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2003-2007 Saturn Ion has led to government criminal and civil investigations, congressional hearings and class-action lawsuits in the United States and Canada. All ask why GM took so long to address a problem it has said first came to its attention in 2001.

Barra said on Monday that the company was working with the supplier of the ignition switches, Delphi Automotive, to add a second production line for replacement parts and that customers would receive a detailed notice by mail during the second week of April.

The latest recalls cover more than 1.5 million newer crossover utility vehicles, luxury sedans and full-size vans. While there were reports of engine compartment fires in two dealer-owned Cadillac XTS sedans, the company said it has received no reports of accidents or injuries related to the three new recalls.   Continued...

 
Mary Barra, incoming CEO of General Motors Co., reveals the 2015 GMC Canyon pickup truck in an industrial building in advance of the media preview of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan January 12, 2014. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook