I hate politics. Rarely will you catch an article on here about NHTSA’s ridiculous, farcical witch-hunts around recalls. If you think this stuff is not political, think again.
Do not get me started on the useless, fleabag vote-mongers in both houses of congress, from both sides of the aisle.
Counterpoint: Or the NHTSA’s actual customer assistance in ensuring recall work is fulfilled by manufacturers?
“Send them a letter” is not sufficient, @NHTSA — when you are steamrolling billions of company value from the books with these opportunistic investigations. A disgusting disgrace for the agency, and one that will not go unpunished or unnoticed.
But today, the GM 2014 recall scandal has reached a boiling point. No longer a case of 60-cent ignition switches that are so faulty that they are liable to kill you if you “have a heavy keychain.” All safety systems rely on the car producing energy: seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, airbags, brakes, steering, lights.
Everything relies on the car being in the “On” setting with the engine running.
A fatal flaw of this magnitude speaks to core, systemic rot at General Motors from the top down and bottom up.
Is Old GM’s standard operating procedure actually banished, as the blindsided and good-hearted Mary Barra would have us believe? Perhaps.
Looking at the latest *huge* recall list — growing longer daily — tells me this is still an on-going liability management play by General Motors. What does that mean?
Unless the individual fatality payouts cost more than hiding the problem, no recall or fix will ever be announced. That is GM Legal 101 since the side-mounted gas tank litigation that took 20 years to finally extinguish, and cost the company its will to engineer and innovate through the 1990s and, it seems, the 2000s.
It also cost General Motors 30 percentage points of market share between 1978 and 1998.
We are acutely aware of the congressional inquiries at the moment regarding the 2.6-million recalled cars that are emerging from the woodwork at GM. These include 2014 models, so all is not peachy just yet in corporate silo-land.
We believe in giving General Motors new CEO the benefit of the doubt. But the handling of this recall smacks of more responsibility shirking — a Motors Liquidation Corp. mainstay. Example?
There is a waiting list of 10,000-plus people as of today who are afraid to drive their Chevy Cobalts, but told to head to dealers to seek help. Upon arrival, Chevy dealers will do anything **except** give these customers a loaner car. That is scandal-makers to the core, and classic GM malfeasance.
Another stronger definition? Criminal negligence, product liability nightmare, and crisis management “What Not To Do” case study of the future.
GM claims the Cobalts are safe to drive. They are incorrect at best, and willfully obstructing the truth at worst.
Once stalled, it cannot be safely steered off the road for two reasons, both previously touted as safety features:
— Steering Park Lock: Steering wheel direction lock on accessory power
— (Automatic) Brake Transmission Shift Interlock: Car cannot be restarted once stalled until it is stopped and In Park.
Claiming to be a different company today, but using more misinformation and legalese proves to me: This is a company with much more to lose than it realizes.
A 28-percent market share next year?
Let’s think ten years out: 14-percent is much more likely based on Old GM *results* equations.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.