News / USA

    General Motors' Chief Apologizes for Deadly Car Crashes

    General Motors CEO Mary Barra listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 1, 2014, while testifying before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.
    General Motors CEO Mary Barra listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 1, 2014, while testifying before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.
    VOA News
    The chief of the biggest U.S. automaker, General Motors, has apologized to the relatives of 13 people killed in car crashes after her company failed for a decade to disclose a defect in ignition switches that led to the accidents.

    Chief executive Mary Barra offered her apology at a congressional hearing in Washington Tuesday. It came after the recent company recall of 2.6 million vehicles it produced from 2005-2010 to fix the problem.

    "Today's GM will do the right thing," she said. "That begins with my sincere apology to everyone who has been affected by this recall, especially the families and friends who lost their lives or were injured. I am deeply sorry."

    Barra, recently named as the GM chief, said she has no idea why it took the company until recently to disclose the ignition switch defect. She pledged to find out why and be "fully transparent" with the information.

    The GM chief executive and the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, David Friedman, were called before the congressional committee to explain why the company and the government agency pushed aside complaints that the faulty ignition systems shut down cars while they were being driven. That in turn disabled the vehicles' electrical systems and prevented airbags from inflating in crashes.

    GM's own data on the defect provided to the government shows that it knew of the problem as early as 2001.

    In his prepared statement, Friedman said GM had information about the faulty ignition switches but did not disclose it to the government until last month. Drivers, however, had complained to the agency about the ignition problems as early as 2005 and it had information about a fatal accident. Government investigators decided a trend was not evident.
     
    Rosie Cortinas (C) holds a photo of her son who was killed Oct. 18, 2013 while driving a Chevy Cobalt, joins other families whose loved ones died behind the wheel defective GM vehicles, during a news conference in Washington, April 1, 2014.Rosie Cortinas (C) holds a photo of her son who was killed Oct. 18, 2013 while driving a Chevy Cobalt, joins other families whose loved ones died behind the wheel defective GM vehicles, during a news conference in Washington, April 1, 2014.
    x
    Rosie Cortinas (C) holds a photo of her son who was killed Oct. 18, 2013 while driving a Chevy Cobalt, joins other families whose loved ones died behind the wheel defective GM vehicles, during a news conference in Washington, April 1, 2014.
    Rosie Cortinas (C) holds a photo of her son who was killed Oct. 18, 2013 while driving a Chevy Cobalt, joins other families whose loved ones died behind the wheel defective GM vehicles, during a news conference in Washington, April 1, 2014.
    In recent weeks, GM, the second biggest automaker in the world behind Japan's Toyota Motor, has recalled 6.3 million vehicles - the 2.6 million vehicles in connection with the faulty ignition switches, and another 3.7 million vehicles linked to other safety issues.

    Relatives of the victims killed in the crashes held up pictures of their loved ones at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol. They condemned GM and the government for ignoring their complaints about the faulty ignition switches.

    One victim's mother, Laura Christian, said GM put profits ahead of safety.

    "Corporate executives made a decision that fighting a problem was cheaper and easier than fixing a problem," she said

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    April 03, 2014 1:10 PM
    First thing off rosies son was not the only one who died in that crash instead of focusing only one of the family focus on the other family that is in as much pain as they are.

    by: Astonished
    April 02, 2014 12:20 PM
    So, Barra apologized. Big deal. I still don't see her stating that General Motors was responsible for what happened. I mean almost every vehicle make and model manufactured by GM is being recalled!!

    As for me, I made the mistake of purchasing a brand new Saturn in 2005, and now it has two open recalls on it, one of which they knew about BEFORE I bought the vehicle, and one that was supposedly fixed in 2011, but is being recalled AGAIN. That's 3, count them, 3 recalls on the same vehicle. It is being stored by Chevrolete on one of their dealership lots right now and they can keep it! The first loaner they gave me has been recalled! Even though I was fortunate not to have had a crash or lost a family member, it still means that General Motors was more interested in not spending $.57 on a part than keeping their customers safe. What really infuriates me is that they think that offering a free loaner vehicle and $500.00 down on the purchase of any other GM manufactured vehicle is generous!!!! General Motors should be getting down on their collective knees and begging forgiveness from the families they have destroyed and make restitution without question, not some paultry token giveaway!

    THEY CAN KEEP THE CAR PERMANENTLY as far as I'm concerned! Make a planter out of it! I'm NOT putting my family into that rolling time bomb again. Just make GM replace that vehicle with a vehicle of my choice, NON-GENERAL MOTORS manufactured and I'll be happy.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora