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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid