Ex-GM officials could be called to testify in U.S. Congress probe

Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:45pm EDT
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By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers are considering calling on former General Motors Co executives and employees from parts supplier Delphi Automotive to testify as they cast a wide net in their probe of GM's recall of 1.6 million vehicles with potentially lethal ignition-switch problems.

"We're not ruling anything out," House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton told Reuters when asked if his committee would elicit testimony from former GM officials, including ex-CEOs, and Delphi officials who may have been directly involved in reviewing the problem that first arose in 2001.

On April 1, the current head of GM, CEO Mary Barra, is scheduled to testify at the maiden congressional hearing on the automaker's troubled cars, which have been linked to 12 deaths.

The 1.6 million recalled cars include 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s, 2003-07 Saturn Ions and other models.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator David Friedman is also expected to be at the House hearing.

The hearings come as a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Americans want tougher federal regulation of the automobile industry.

The poll, conducted March 21-25, found that 67 percent of those surveyed said they either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that the federal government needed to strengthen auto safety regulation.

GM and NHTSA were up against a Tuesday deadline for providing Upton's committee with a raft of information on how it responded, or failed to respond, to warnings that the ignition switches could unexpectedly turn off vehicle engines and safety equipment while the cars were operating.   Continued...

A worker walks behind a logo of General Motors after the announcement of the closing of the Opel assembly plant in Antwerp January 21, 2010. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir