Has GM really improved, or is it the same old?

By: Jonathan Itskovitch

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Caption: Mary Barra, CEO of GM, has been under investigation by the senate panel for the faulty ignition switch. Source:  USA Today

After getting a 10.5 billion dollar bailout from taxpayers, the hopes were that GM had come out as the good bailout company. These hopes have been shattered with investigations into the faulty ignition switch problems leading to 2.6 million vehicles being recalled. There are at least 13 confirmed deaths and 31 front end crashes as a result of the faulty switches.

The problem seems to point at the lead switch engineer, Ray DeGiorgio, who claims under oath that he never approved a change to the ignition switch. Documents have turned up proving he signed off on a replacement part but used the same part number. By not changing the part number, the tracking is made more difficult, and that is unacceptable. There must be a law against that somewhere in the books. Here lies a dilemma, should he face criminal charges? People died because of this faulty ignition switch. People go to jail for insider trading, is this not worse? Was he told to cover up the problem by executives higher up in GM? And even if he was, is it not still morally wrong? Should the individuals or the corporation face charges? There is still so much to learn about this cover up. Many prosecutors claim that it is easier to prosecute a company as opposed to an individual where it has to be proven he is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. To date, no one has been fired at GM for the faulty ignition switch problem, and GM has been aware of the problem since at least last January.

Presently, there are some judges who would like to see all the GM cars that need the part changed to be parked until fixed. Some would like to see GM pay for loaner cars for everyone affected until all the cars are fixed. GM spokespeople have said that drivers simply need to separate or detach the key from heavy key ring holders which can cause the switches to turn from on to off while driving. They claim the cars are safe to drive without the extra weight on the key. Are they serious? How scientific is that?  Would you risk your life on the assessment of some heavy or extra weight on the key without more specifics after at least 13 people have already died? This sounds a lot more like the old GM that went bankrupt as opposed to the new GM we were all hoping for.