tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 1, 2014 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT
2.5 million vehicles because of defective ignition switches. we know they should have tunnel it much, much earlier. we know that gm failed to provide federal regulators with key information. and sadly, we know that at least 13 people are dead and there have been dozens of crashes because of gm produced cars that had a deadly effect. mr. chairman, i have a copy of the ignition switch assembly for one of these vehicles. and this is it. a spring inside the switch, a piece that costs pennies, failed to provide enough force causing the switch to turn off when the car went over a bump. gm knew about this problem in 2001. they were warned again and again over the next decade but they did nothing. and i just want to show how easy it is to turn this key in this
switch. if you had a heavy key chain like my mom key chair or if you had -- if you were short and bumped up against the ignition with your knee, it could cause this key to switch right off. mr. chairman, we now know that these switches were defective from the start. in february of 2002, gm's ignition switch supplier dell if i informed the company that the switch did not meet gm's minimum specifications. but gm approved it anyway. now, yesterday we sent ms. barra a letter about this decision. i would like to make it a part of the hearing record. >> without objection. >> soon after the approval, the cars were on the road and it didn't take long for problems to appear. in 2003, june 2003, the owner of a saturn ion with 3,474 miles on the odometer made a warranty
report that he or she, quote, bumped the key and the car shut off. gm would receive more than 130 similar warranty claims of owners about this problem over the next decade and never informed the public or reported the problem to federal safety regulators. the minority staff conducted this warranty analysis and again we prepared a memo about the claims. i would ask unanimous consent to put that in the record, mr. chairman. >> without objection. >> initially, gm opened multiple investigations into the ignition switch issue. each which concluded the switch was bad. it department meet the minimums. in 2005, gm identified solutions to the problem but concluded that, quote, the tooling cost and piece price are too high. thus, none of the solutions represents an acceptable business case. documents provided by gm show
that this unacceptable cost increase was only 57 cents. mr. chairman, we have this document that we got from gm. somehow it's not in the binder. i'd ask youian mouse consent. >> without objection, so ordered. >> another investigation in 2005 led gm to issue a technical service bulletin advising dealers to distribute key inserts to help reduce the problem. this was a simple fix to reduce the force on the switch. mr. chairman, these are the keys of one of my staff members who actually owns one of these cars. and as you can see, there's a long, long insert. what the key inserts were supposed to do is go in the middle and create a little hole so the key and the keys wouldn't go back and forth. unfortunately, gm never made this bulletin public. more than 500 people out of the
thousands of drivers who had cars with faulty switches got the key insert. and gm knew it. soon after this decision, company officials quietly redesigned the switch but they never changed the part number. and an astonishingly this committee learned that when gm approved a new switch in 2006, they did it with still knowing that the new switch didn't meet specifications. the company even put more cars with bad switches on the road from 2008 until 2011. and we still don't know all the information about this. between 2003 and 2014, gm learned hundreds of reports of ignition switch problems through customer complaints, warranty claims, lawsuits, press coverage, field reports and even more internal investigations. but time and time again, gm did nothing.
the company continued to sell cars knowing they were unsafe. i know we have a lot of family members here, mr. chairman, and i want to express my deepest sympathies to them and tell them something more. we'll get to the bottom of this. we'll figure out what happened and we'll make sure it doesn't happen again. mr. chairman, i want to thank miss barra for coming. she is brand new at the company. i believe she's committed to fixing the situation. we have a lot of questions to ask today, though. and i know every member of the committee is concerned about this. thank you very much. >> gentle lady's time expired. recognize mr. upton for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we know that with a 2-ton piece of high velocity machinery there is, in fact, a zero margin for error. product safety is indeed a life or death issue. but sadly, vehicle safety has fallen short and it's not the first time. during the late summer of 2000 in this very room i led the
oversight hearings that examined the ford firestone recalls, a tire malfunction causing violent crashes and americans did not feel safe behind the wheel. we gathered testimony from the company and agency officials and reviewed thousands and thousands of pages of documents. and we found that the system indeed had failed. information about the defective tires had been shared with the companies and with nhtsa. the parties failed to protect the public safety and over 100 people died. after that investigation, i introduced the tread act to correct many of the problems that contributed to the ford firestone tragedy. that bill was meant to ensure data about safety is reported so that defects can be quickly identified and fixed and lives ultimately saved. the tread act is now law since november 2000. yet here we are investigating another safety failure. deja vu all over again. one month ago gm issued a recall for an ignition switch defect in
six vehicles of 1.6 million cars. and last friday they recalled another 900,000 vehicles. gm acknowledges that a dozen people have died in automobile crashes associated with that defect. two were teenagers from my own community. gm's ceo and acting administrator friedman. first step in the quest to find out what went wrong. the committee's purpose the same as it was in 2000. making sure that drivers and families are protected and cars are safe. i'll repeat what i said on firestone tires in 2000. today's hearing is very personal to me because i come from michigan. the auto state. the auto capital of the world. that is no less true today. michigan is proud of its auto industry and while michigan citizens build cars obviously we drive them, too. document pros deuced to the
committee show that both nhtsa and gm received complaints about and data about problems with ignition switches and air bags. these complaints go back at least a decade. nhtsa engineers did crash investigations as early as '05 and twice examined whether complaints with air bags constituted a trend. gm submitted early warning reports to nhtsa including data of crashes in the recalled cars. with all that information available, why did it take so long to issue the recall? in this case, just as it was with ford firestone, it was news reports that brought the attention to the nation's attention. brought the problem to the nation's attention. this investigation of the recall is indeed bipartisan. as it should be. we'll follow the facts wherever they lead us and we're going to work until we have the answers and can assure the public that, indeed, they're safe. i'd like to note that the chairman of our cmt subcommittee
mr. terry will be joining us for questions this afternoon. with his subcommittee's record on motor vehicle safety issues he will be watching closely as this investigation unfolds so that he can take our findings and determine whether and what changes may be needed to the laws designed to keep drivers safe on the road. after all, our goal on every issue follows the dingell model. identify the problem or abuse fully. and where needed, fix it with legislation so that it won't happen again. i yield to the vice chair of the committee miss blackburn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and miss barra, thank you very much for being here today. we really owe this hearing to the american people, to gm customers, and to the relatives of the 12 individuals that are lost their lives. and it is important that we get to the bottom of this. and to see what the roles of gm
and nhtsa were in this figure out who's at fault and we want the know who knew what when and miss barra, that includes you. we're going to want to know what your exposure was to this issue as you took the helm at gm as the ceo. you know, in my district, we have the gm plant. the saturn ion has been recalled. that was made at that plant there in spring hill. so this is something that is important to my constituents. those that have worked with gm, i thank you for being here and we look forward to the answers. i yield back. >> now recognize ranking member of the full committee, mr. waxman for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have a sad sense of deja vu sitting here today. i was part of the committee holding the ford firestone
hearing in 2000. i led the committee's hearing on toyota's problems with unintended acceleration in 2010. each time, we heard about how auto manufacturers knew about potential defects and about how federal safety officials at the national highway traffic safety administration missed signals that should have alerted them to defective cars on the road. and here we are today under similar circumstances. over the last month, the full dimensions of another auto safety disaster have unfolded. general motors has recalled 2.5 million vehicles due to a defective ignition switch and the company has acknowledged that these cars have caused dozens of crashes and 13 fatalities. mr. chairman, i know the families of some of these victims are in the audience for today's hearing. i want to acknowledge them.
thank them for coming. we owe it to them to find out what happened. the facts that we already know are hard to believe. gm has known for years about this safety defect and has failed to take appropriate action to fix the problem. the company installed an ignition switch it knew did not meet its own specifications. numerous internal investigations resulted in nothing but a nonpublic technical service bulletin that partially fixed the problem for fewer than 500 drivers. a new analysis i released this morning revealed that over the last decade gm received over 130 warranty claims from drivers and gm technicians who experienced and identified the defect. drivers reported that their cars shut off after hitting bumps or
potholes at highway speeds when they did something as simple as brushing the ignition switch with their knee. one gm technician even identi identified the exact part causing the problem. a spring that would have caused at most as much as a few postage stamps, a couple of dollars. because gm didn't implement this simple fix when it learned about the problem, at least a dozen people have died in defective gm vehicles. what's more, new information the committee received last week suggests that gm still has failed to fully own up to potential problems. gm finally modified the ignition switch for later model cars but delphi, the manufacturer of the ignition switch, told the committee that the switches installed in model year 2008 to
2011 vehicles still do not meet gm's own specifications. gm finally announced a recall of these vehicles last friday. but told the public that it was because of bad parts installed during repairs, not because of defective parts originally installed in the vehicles. there are legitimate questions we need to ask about whether nhtsa did enough to identify and uncover this problem. in retrospect, it's clear that the agency missed some red flags. but nhtsa was also laboring under a handicap. there appears to have been a lot of information that gm knew but they didn't share with the national highway traffic safety administration. we need to make sure that nhtsa and the public have access to
the same information about safety as auto executives. that's why today i'm introduced the motor vehicle safety act of 2014. this bill's modeled on the legislation that the committee passed in 2010 but was never enacted into law. it will make more information on defects available to the public. and it will increase nhtsa's funding and increase civil penalties for manufacturers when companies like gm fail to comply with the law. mr. chairman, we should learn as much as we can from this investigation. then, we should improve the law to make sure we're not here again after another auto safety tragedy in the near future. i want to yield back my time. thank you. >> gentleman yields back. i'd now like to introduce the witness on the first panel for today's hearing. miss mary barra, chief executive
officer at general motors company and has been in this role since january 15th, 2014. when she also became a member of its board of directors. she has held a number of positions in this company. from 2008 to 2009, she served as vice president of global manufacturing, engineering. and pro2005 to 2008 she was executive director of vehicle manufacturing engineering. she's also served as a plant manager and director of competitive operations engineering as well as numerous other positions. i'll now swear in the witness. miss barra, you are aware that the committee is holding an investigative hearing and has a practice of taking testimony under oath. do you have any objections to testifying under oath? >> no. >> the chair then advised you under the rules of the houts and the committee you are entitled to be advised by counsel. >> no. >> in that case, if you would please rise and raise your right
hand, i'll swear you in. do you swear the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? >> i do. >> thank you. miss barra, you are now under oath and subject to the penalties of the united states code. you may now give a five-minute summary of your written statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and committee members. >> please pull your microphone close and make sure it's on. >> can you hear me? okay. thank you, mr. chairman and committee members. my name the mary barra, the chief executive officer of general motors. i appreciate the opportunity to be here today. more than a decade ago, gm embarked on a small car program. sitting here today, i cannot tell you why it took so long for a safety defect to be announced for this program but i can tell you we will find out. this is an extraordinary situation. it involves vehicles we no longer make but it came to light on my watch so i'm responsible
for resolving it. when we have answers, we'll be fully transparent with you, with our regulators, and with our customers. while i cannot turn back the clock, as soon as i learned about the problem we acted without hesitation. we told the world we had a problem that needed to be fixed. we did so because whatever mistakes were made in the past we will not shirk from the responsibilities now or in the future. today's gm will do the right thing. that begins with my sincere apologies 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. i've asked former u.s. attorney to conduct a thorough and unimpeded investigation of the actions of general motors. i have received updates from him and he tells me he's well along with his work.
he has free rein to go where the facts take him, regardless of outcome. the facts will be the facts. once they are in, my leadership team and i will do needed to help assure this does not happen again. we'll hold ourselves fully accountable. however, i want to stress i'm not waiting for his results to make changes. i've named a new vice president of global vehicle safety, a first for general motors. the top priority is to quickly identify and resolve any and all product safety issues. he's not taking on this task alone. i stand with him and my senior leadership team stands with him, as well. and we'll welcome input from outside of gm from you, from nhtsa, from the customers, our dealers and current and former employees. the latest round of recalls demonstrates just how serious we
are about the way we want to do things at today's gm. we've identified these issues and we've brought them forward and we're fixing them. i have asked our team to keep stressing the system at gm and work with one thing in mind. the customer and their safety are at the center of everything we do. our customers who have been affected by this recall are getting our full and undivided attention. we are talking directly to them through a dedicated website with constantly updated information and through social media platforms. we've trained and assigned more people, over 100, to the customer call centers and wait times are down to seconds. of course, we're sending customers written information through the mail. we've empowered our dealers to take extraordinary measures to treat each case specifically. if people don't want to drive a recalled vehicle before repaired, dealers can provide a loaner or a rental car free of
the charge. to date, we have provided nearly 13,000 loaner vehicles. if a customer's already looking for another car, dealers are allowed to provide additional cash allowances for the purchase of a lease or new vehicle. our supplier is manufacturing new replacement parts for the vehicle that is are no longer in production. we have commissioned two lines and have asked for a third production line and those parts will start being delivered to dealers next week. these measures are only the first in making things right and rebuilding trust with our customers. as i have reminded our employees, getting the cars repaired is only the first step. giving customers the best support possible throughout this process is how we will be judged. i would like this committee to know that all of our gm employees and i are determined to set a new standard. i'm encouraged to say that everyone at gm up to and
including our board of directors supports this. i'm a second generation gm employee. and i'm here as our ceo but i'm also here representing the men and women who are part of today's gm and are dedicated to putting the highest quality safest vehicles on the road. i recently held a town hall meeting to formally introduce our new vp of safety. we met at the technical center in michigan. this is one of the places where the men and women who engineer our vehicles work. they are the brains behind our cars but they are also the heart of general motors. it was a tough meeting. like me, they are disappointed and upset. i could see it in their faces. i could hear it in their voices. they had many of the same questions that i suspect are on your mind. they want to make things better for our customers and in that process make gm better. they particularly wanted the know what we plan to do for
those who have suffered the most from this tragedy. that's why i'm pleased to announce that we have retained kenneth feinberg as a consultant to help us evaluate the situation and recommend the best path forward. i am sure this committee knows mr. feinberg is highly qualified and is very experienced in handling matters such as this. having led the compensation efforts involved with 9/11, the bp oil spill and the boston marathon bombing. mr. feinberg brings expertise and objectivity to this effort. as i have said, i consider this to be an extraordinary event and we are responding to it in an extraordinary way. as i see it, gm has civil responsibilities and legal responsibilities. we are thinking through exactly what those responsibilities are and how to balance them in an appropriate manner. bringing on mr. feinberg is the first step.
i would now be happy to answer your questions. thank you. >> thank you, miss barra. i want to acknowledge the families are here and have sympathies, one kelly erin ruddy of pennsylvania is one of those we offer sympathy to the families and we have all of you in our hearts. miss barra, our committee reviewed more than 200,000 pages of documents. what we have found is that as soon as the cobalt hit the road in 2004 drivers began to immediately complain to general motors that the cars ignition systems didn't work properly. you can imagine how frightening it is to drive a car that suddenly you lose the power steering and power brakes. when the switch for the cobalt was being built back in 2002, gm knew the switch did not meet its specifications for torque. am i correct? >> yes. >> gm engineers began to look at the problem and try to figure out how to address it. gm understood the torque and the switches measured below its own
specifications. is that right? >> yes. >> is it common practice for gm to accept a part that does not meet gm specifications? >> no. but there's a difference between a part meeting or not meeting specifications and a part being defective. >> so under what scenario is accepting parts that don't meet gm specs allowable? >> an example would be purchasing steel. you'll set a specification for steel but then because of the different suppliers and availability of steel to make products, you'll assess the performance, the functionality, the durability, you know, the aspects of the part or the -- in this case, steel, that is necessary to live up to what the performance and the durability of the safety needs to be. >> well, let's -- >> that's an example of when you would have a part or have material that doesn't meet the spec set out but is acceptable from a safety, from a functionality perspective, performance, as well. >> is that switch acceptable? >> the switch -- i'm sorry sigh
the switch acceptable? >> at what time frame? i'm sorry. >> the beginning. didn't meet the specs for gm s. that acceptable? >> as we clearly know today, it is not. >> so in 2006, gm changed the ignition switch and gm switch supplier delphi put in a new spring to increase the torque. is that correct? ? >> i didn't hear the last part. i'm sorry. >> increasing the torque. is that correct? >> there was a new part. >> thank you. now, in the binder next to you, if you would turn to tab 25, this is an e-mail exchange between delphi employees in 2005 discussing the changes to the ignition switch. the e-mail notes that a gm engineer is asking for information about the ignition switch because, quote, cobalt is blowing up in their face in regards to turning the car off with the driver's knee, unquote. if this was such a big problem, why didn't gm e place the
ignition switch on the cars already on the road? the cars where the torque fell well below the specifications instead of just new cars, why? >> what you just said does not match under tab 25. >> it's the bottom of the page, should be something there. >> just note that what i said -- i apologize for that. >> okay. >> there's a statement the cobalt is blowing up in their face, by bumping of the driver's knee. >> clearly, there were a lot of things that happened, a lot of statements made as it relates. that's why we've hired anton valucas. we're spanning over a decade of time -- >> you don't know why -- >> i do not know the answer to that and that's why we're doing the investigation. >> given the number of complaints about ignitions turning off while drooifg, why wasn't this identified as a safety issue? >> again, i can't answer that. that's why e weir doing a full and complete investigation. >> in the chronology gm submitted, gm states it didn't make the connection between the
ignition switch problems and the air bag nondeployment problems until late 2013. when switching ignition, did the company examine how the faulty switch affects other systems? >> again, this's part of the investigation. >> should they? >> should we understand -- >> should they look at how it affects other vehicle systems? >> yes. >> let me ask another question. when gm concluded and heard from my opening statement that the tooling cost and price pieces are too high, what does that mean? >> i find that statement to be very disturbing. as we do this investigation and understand it in the context of the whole timeline, if that was the reason this decision was made, that is unacceptable. that is not the way we do business in today's gm. >> well, how does gm balance cost and safety? >> we don't. today, if there's a safety issue, we take action.
if we know there is a defect on our vehicles, we do not look at the cost associated with it. we look at the speed in which we can fix the issue. >> well, was there a culture in gm at that time that they would have put cost over safety? >> again, we are doing a complete investigation. but i would say in general we've moved from a cost culture after the bankruptcy to a customer culture. we've trained thousands of people on putting the customer first. we have actually gone with outside training. it is a part of the core values and it is one of the most important cultural changes we're driving in general motors today. >> i'm out of time. miss degette, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. gm knew about the defect as far back as 2001. 13 years before the recall. correct? >> the -- >> yes or no will work. >> the investigation will tell us that. >> you don't know when gm knew
about the defect? >> i will -- >> take a look at tab 7 in your notebook, miss barra. this is a gm document. and what this gm document talks about is this switch. it says, tear down evaluation on the switch revealed two causes of failure. low contact force and low detent plunger force. do you recognize that document, ma'am? >> this is the first i've seen this document. >> okay. well, so you don't know how long gm knew about this? >> that's why i'm doing an investigation. >> okay. in fact, delphi, the manufacturer informed gm in 2002 that the switch was supposed to be 15 minimum torque specification but, in fact, these switches were between 4 and 10.
didn't it? >> the specification is correct that it was supposed to be 20 plus or minus 5. >> and these switches were between 4 and 10. correct? yes or no will work. >> we know that now. >> and -- and gm was notified by delphi of this. correct? yes or no. >> i'm not aware of being notified. >> okay. >> can i correct? >> i need a yes or no. i only have five minutes. i'm sorry. as far back as 2014, 10 years ago, gm conducted a problem resolution tracking system after it learned of an incident where the key moved out of the run condition in a 2005 chevrolet cobalt. is this correct? >> again, you're relatting specific incident that is happened. >> you don't know? >> our entire investigation -- >> you don't know about that? take a look at tab 8, please. yeah. and by the way, ma'am, i'm getting this information from the chronology that gm provided
to nhtsa. >> right. >> let me ask you. again, as far back as 2004, gm conducted a problem resolution tracking system inquiry after it learned of an incident where the key moved out of the run condition. is that correct? >> yes. >> thank you. now, after the prts inquiry, one engineer advised against further action because there was, quote, no acceptable business case to provide a resolution and the prts auz closed. is that correct? >> if that is true, that is a very disturbing fact. that is not way we make decisions. >> okay. again in 2005, gm received more reports of engines stopping when the keys were jerked out of the run condition. further investigations were conducted and engineers proprosed changes to the keys. is that correct? >> it's part of our investigation to get that complete timeline. i understand -- >> much of this i'm taking from the timeline gm has already
done. >> what was a summary. >> okay. so as a result of the investigation, a technical service bulletin was issued to dealers that if car owners complain, they should be warned of this risk and advised to take unessential items from the key chain but this recommendation was not made to the public. no public statements were issued, no recall sent. is that correct? >> to my understanding, yes. >> thank you. in 2006, gm contracted with delphi to redesign the ignition switch to use a new plunger and spring that would increase torque force in the switch. is that correct? >> yes. >> and for some reason, though, the new switch was not given a part number and instead shared a number with the original defective switch. is that correct? >> yes. >> now, this new switch also did not meet gm's minimum torque specifications either. this one delphi said in the range of 10 to 15 and it really
should have been 15 at a minimum. is that correct? >> i have not seen the test results from that. >> you don't know that. okay. now, despite these facts, gm continued to manufacture cars with these same ignition switches for the model years 2008 to 2011. is that correct? >> yes. >> and between 2004 and 2014, no public notices were issued as a result of gm's knowledge of these facts and no recalls were issued for the over 2.5 million vehicles manufactured with these defective ignition switches. is that correct? >> yes. >> and finally, through three recalls were made this year, 2014, two in february and one just last february. is that right? >> related to this ignition switch? >> i have just a couple more questions. the first question i have, ms. barra, gm is intending to replace the switches for those cars beginning april 7th, right?
>> we'll begin shipping -- >> will you put a completely new redesigned switch or the switches of 2006 in the cars? >> a switch that meets the -- >> is it going to be a newly redesigned switch or is it going to be the old switch from 2006? >> it's the old design that meets the performance that's required to -- >> okay. i have more questions, mr. chairman. perhaps we can do another round. >> an important part, follow up, members may be concerned. there's an ongoing investigation. you cannot comment on these yet. are you getting updates on a regular basis as this is going on? >> from mr. valucas? >> from anyone. >> yes, i am. >> now go to the chairman of the full committee, mr. upton, for five minutes. >> once again, thank you, ms. barra, for being here this afternoon. i want to make sure we ask similar questions of you and both nhtsa. we want to ask about did documents submitted on a timely
and appropriate basis to nhtsa and in fact what did they do with that information. the documents that we have looked at produced show that gm received complaints about its cobalt ignition switches for about two years that ult matly resulted in a redesigned ignition switch in 2006. who within gm would have known about those specific complaints? what was the process back then? >> i was not a part of that organization at that time. that's why i'm doing the investigation to understand that. >> so you don't know the folks that would have been reported to at this point? is that right? >> i don't know the people handling this issue at that point. >> but you are getting updates. when's supposed to happen? looking back, what should have happened when the reports came? n? >> in general when you have an issue, a product issue, a safety issue, a field incident, any type of issue that comes in, you have a team of engineer that is
are the most knowledgeable that work on that. if they see there's an issue, they elevate it to a cross functional team that looks at it and then it goes to a group for decision. >> now, we know that the ignition switch was, in fact, redesigned because it didn't meet the specs that were there. is that right? >> yes. >> now, i would guess engineering 101 would normally require that when you assign a new part or replace a new part or replace a part with a new part that that newly redesigned part, in fact, should have a different number on it. is that right? >> that is correct. >> so that didn't happen, right? >> that's correct. >> didn't happen. who within gm made the decision to move forward with that redesigned switch without a new part number? do you know who that is? >> i do not know the name of the individual. >> will you be able to find that
out for us? >> yes, i will. >> will you give that name to our committee? >> i can provide that. >> is it likely that that same person was the one that decided not to recall the defective version? where did -- where in the timeline is that? >> i don't know but that is part of the investigation that we're doing. >> do you know when it was that it was discovered, what year, what -- you know, where in the timeline that it was discovered that, in fact, a new part number was not assigned? >> i became aware of that after we did the recall and the timeline was put together. >> so that was just in the last month or so. is that right? >> that's when i became aware. >> but when did gm recallize that no new part number had been assigned? >> again, that's part of our investigation. i want to know that just as much as you because that's an unacceptable practice. it is not the way we do business. >> so, you've stated publicly that something went wrong with our process.
how's the process supposed to work? how's this -- how are you redesigning the process to ensure that, in fact, it should work the way that it needs to work? >> well, one of the things we are doing is the investigation by mr. valucas. i have some early findings from mr. valucas. as we look across the company, it appears at this time there was information in one part of the company and another part of the company didn't have access to that. at times they didn't share information just by course of process or they didn't recognize that the information would be valuable to another area of the company. we have fixed that. we have announced a new position, jeff boyer, vice president of global vehicle safety. all of this will report to him. he will have additional staff and will have the ability to cut across the organization and we'll also have the right functional leadership that understands what's going on in the different areas. so that's a fix we have already
made and he's operating that way today. operating that way today. >> so when gm received complaints about ignition switches for a number of years, ended up resulting in the redesign ignition switch in 06, when was it that anyone linked up the ignition switch problems to look at the cobalt air bags not deploying? was that about the same time? later? >> that is something i very much want to understand and know. but again, we're doing an investigation that spans over a decade and it's very important because designing a vehicle is a very complex process that we get a detailed understanding of exactly what happened so we can fix processes and make sure it never happens again. >> when was it that gm informed nitsa that a redesign -- did in fact gm inform nitsa that the
ignition switch had been redesigned? >> i don't know that. >> i yield back. >> we recognize mr. waxman for five minutes. >> thank you. we heard about how in 2002 gm had faulty ignition switches in cobalts and other cars that caused many of the problems that led to the recall from model years 2003 to 2007. so new ignition switches were designed and approved by general motors. these were switches that were used -- were used in model years 2008 to 2010. does that all sound right to you? am i correct in what i'm saying? >> there is a couple of statements you made at the beginning that i don't know to be true. >> in 2002, gm approved the use
of what turned out to be faulty ignition switches -- >> they were actually -- they were parts that went into a 2003 was the earliest model. >> the tests were done in 2003 about the the cars were 2003 to 2007. so there was a recall of those cars and new ignition switch designed and approved by gm and these new switches were in use in the model year 2008 to 2010 cobalts and ions. >> to the best of my knowledge, that's correct. >> in a briefing last week, delfi said the new switches did not immediate specifications, the force to turn these switches was two-thirds what it should be and documents also confirm that
top gm officials were aware of the outer switches in 2008 and 2002 vehicles in december 2013. so there's a document if you want to look it up, it's tab 39, page 6 of your binder. there was a december presentation for gm's high level executive field action decision committee and that -- athat meeting the performance measurement for half of the 2008 -- you go to 2008, 2010, model year vehicles, ignition switches were below minimum gm required specifications. my question to you is are you concerned that many 2008 to 2010 year cars have switches that do
not meet the company specifications. >> as we assess the situation, i understand there was work going on to look at the switches again and look at just because the switch -- a part doesn't meet information doesn't mean it is a defective part. as that analysis was going on the same time we were looking to make sure we can get all of the spare parts when we recognize spare parts might have been sold through third parties and no tracking to know which vin we made. >> a lot of these car was model years had switches that were just as effective as the 2003 to 2007 cars. those cars were recalled but you didn't recall the model year 2008 to 2011 vehicles until a month later. why did the company belong in these newer vehicles?
>> my understanding is the company was assessing those switches but at the same time in parallel they were looking at the spare parts issue and it became very clear we needed to go and get all of the vehicles because we couldn't identify which vehicles may have had a spare part put in them. we recall the entire population. >> you recall those vehicles and recalled them later? >> yes. >> you knew there was a problem. you're recalling these later vehicles did not mention the faulty switches originally installed in the cars, only quote faulty switches may have been used to repair the vehicles. why did the company not announce that sub par switches may have been installed in vehicles in the first place? >> there was an assessment going on to understand if the specification parts performance was adequate. >> wasn't it misleading to say that the company didn't tell them subpar switches may have been installed in the first
place. what if i owned a later model car with the original ignition switch, your recall implies i don't have to do anything but my car might still have a subpar switch. your company conduct a detailed analysis to determine if they are safe and will you provide the committee with warrant tee reports and others so we can do our own analysis. >> i believe we're recalling all of those parts. all of those vehicles are being recalled. >> they've all been recalled. i must say, in conclusion, i'm concerned. i know you've taken this job in an aus pishs time and trying to clean up a mess left behind for you for your predecessors but i have one last question, how can be you are sure new switches be installed beginning april 7th will finally meet gm's requirements. >> we have done -- we're working
very closely with our supplier. personally looking at the performance and we will do 100% end of line testing to be sure the performance and safety and functionality of these switches are safe. >> gentleman's time expired. i want to be clear, did you review the documents that gm submitted to the committee? >> no, i did not. there was over 200,000 pages. >> how about the document mr. waxman was talking about? >> this page right here? >> yes. >> i actually saw this for first time a day ago. >> okay, thank you. now recognize miss black burn for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you mentioned several times in your comments today's gm, my assumption is you're going to run gm in a different manner than it has been run in the
past. >> that's correct. >> and you're making some changes. i want to ask you just a little bit about time line to help us get our hands around this because this is the first investigation we're going to do. we're going to have others and continue to look at this to get answers and figure out what has happened here between you all and nitsa and also within what happened to gm. so you mentioned in your testimony that this came to light on your watch. so i'm assuming that there was no widespread knowledge in gm about this issue until you became ceo. am i correct on that? >> at the senior level of the company, we learned of this after the recall decision was made on january 31st. i was aware in late december there was analysis in a cobalt issue but had no more information than that. as soon as we understood the senior leadership understood
this issue and that a recall decision had been made, we acted without hesitation. >> okay then, how did you find out about it? was it through someone bringing the issue to you to say miss barra we have a real problem here or doing your due diligence did you find out about it? >> the leadership committee made a decision on january 1st and notified mark rice who picked up the phone and called me. >> could you submit to us the members of that leadership committee that make those recommendations? yes. >> then was your predecessor, mr. acreson, was he aware of this issue? >> not to my knowledge. >> he was not. >> are any of the members of the leadership committee also -- were they a part of his leadership committee? >> there are members of today's team that were also members of his leadership team and to my
knowledge they were not aware. >> do you think there was a cover-up or it was sloppy work? >> that is the question i've asked mr. valucas to uncover. >> do you think it had anything to do with the auto bailout? >> i'm sorry. >> with the auto bailout? >> i need to get the results of the study to make all determinations. >> and going back to what mr. upton said, you're going to be sharing that information with us. >> yes. >> okay. the engineers that were responsible for this, have you brought them into the process? i know this is something that the part was actually created by delfi. and they have an engineering teamworking on that. they have a shared responsibility and liability in this entire issue.
have you met with them and with the engineering team that was responsible for this switch? >> i have not met with the specific engineering team that is responsible. but i am speaking to leadership and those individuals are being interviewed as part of the investigation. conducted by mr. valucas. >> did you see this was a defective part when you talked about it earlier? >> we have learned when we knew when the recall decision was made and we later went back and looked at the chronology, there's points that suggest and that's why we're doing the investigation. >> okay. all right. now, i think that you're going to hear from more than one of us about not having the new part number assigned. that -- who made that decision? was that strictly a delfi decision or did that come into
the gm supply chain for that decision to be made as to how the part number would be coded? >> at the general level, general motors is responsible for general motors parts numbers. but again, that's part of the investigation to understand how that happened. >> okay. does that seem inconceivable to you? >> yes, it is inconceivable. it is not our process and it is not acceptable. >> i would think that it probably is not. have you asked delfi if you can have access to their documentation and e-mail chain dealing with this issue? >> i have not. again, mr. valucas will go as the investigation takes them to get the information he needs to get a complete and accurate accounting of what happened. >> my time expired. thank you, i yield back. >> just for clarification, we have asked for that e-mail chain
and we'll let you know when we get that. rerecognize mr. mr. dingell for five minutes. >> thank you for your koucourte. i begin by telling the families injured or killed by the defective general motors vehicles that they have our sympathy and we believe the events here are tragic indeed i join efrp expressing my condolences to the families killed or injured in those crashes. now it is federal regular tors and general motors to determine how the deaths could have happened and to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of american motorists and their families are moving forward. expect that this investigation will be thorough. i counsel all of the stake holders to be unabashedly
forthright. ms. barra, all of my questions will require yes or no answers. if you cannot answer some of my questions, i expect that you will submit responses for the record and all available relevant supporting materials. now ms. barra, is it correct that gm has now recalled approximately 2.5 million small cars in the united states due to defective ignition switches? >> yes. >> is it correct that gm recently expanded its recall of small cars because it was possible that the defective ignition switches may have been installed as replacement parts, yes or no? >> yes.
is it correct that the ignion switch in question was original natalie bought in late 1990s and approved in february of 2002? yes or no. >> yes. >> ms. barra, is it correct that general motors own design specifications were such ignition switch required 20 plus or minus 5 centimeters of torque to move the switch from the accessory position to the run position, yes or no? >> yes. >> ms. barra, is it correct general motors approved production of such ignition switch despite test results by delfi during the approval processor ppap, showing that the switch did not meet gm's torque requirement, yes or no? >> that's not clear to me.
>> now, ms. barra, is it correct a general motors approved redesign of the ignition switch used in the presently recalled vehicles in april of 2006? >> yes. >> ms. barra, is it correct that gm's torque requirement was a redesigned switch remained the same as for the original ignition switch, yes or no? >> it is not clear to me that's why we're focusing the investigation on that area specifically. >> that information becomes available, would you submit it to the committee? >> yes, i will. >> did the redesign ignition switch meet gm's torque requirements yes or no? want me to say it again? >> to your knowledge did the redesign ignition switch meet gm's torque requirement, yes or no? >> it's part of the
investigation. >> ms. bar rara, will you submit an explanation of the factors that gm takes into consideration when approving a part for production, are there a circumstances where gm may approve parts or production when such parts do not make such design specifications, yes or no? >> yes. >> if so, could you please submit materials for the record explaining when and why that might occur? >> yes. >> ms. barra, i appreciate the lengths to which gm under your leadership is willing to recall the vehicles and ensure that they are safe to drive. gm's cooperation with the committee is necessary in order to understand the process by which and the reasons decisions were made leading up to the 2014
recall. you may have so far done so and i expect that you'll continue to do so. thank you for your courtesy, mr. chairman, thank you, ms. barra, i yield back the balance of my time. >> now recognize the chairman emeritus, mr. barton from texas. >> i want to make this the general observation. this is probably the last major investigation that this subcommittee and full committee is going to conduct where we have the services of mr. dingell and mr. waxman. we've had a history on this committee in this subcommittee going back 40 or 50 years, when we have major issues we try to approach them on behalf of the american people in a nonpartisan very open way. and it certainly appears we're going to continue that tradition
today. so i hope that we can show the best to the american people that the congress at its best gets the factses and presents the fact and in the future we protect the public health and safety for the american people. with that caveat, i have a few questions. a number of congressmen have made the point that the ignition switches didn't appear to meet specifications. and my assumption is that you've agreed that they did not meet specifications, is that correct? >> we've learned that as we did the recall. >> now, i'm an industrial engineer and i used to be a registered professional engineer, i'm not currently registered but have been in the past. why in the world would a company with the stellar reputation of general motors purchase a part
that did not meet its own specifications? >> i want to know that as much as you do. it is not the way we do business today. it's not the way we want to design and engineer vehicles for our customers. >> i don't understand. i'm -- i'm never worked in an auto assembly environment. i've worked in a defense plant, an aircraft plant. i was plant manager of a printing plant. i've done limited, very limited consulting in the oil and gas industry. but i've never been a part of an organization that said we set the specs when a part doesn't meet the specs, we go ahead and buy it anyway. you're currently the ceo but at
one time i think before you became ceo, you were the vice president for global product development purchasing and supply chain. is it your position now that general motors will not accept parts that don't meet specifications? >> we will not accept parts that don't meet our performance safety functionality durability requirements. as i mentioned before. in the steel example, there will be times where there will be a material or a part that doesn't meet the exact specifications but after analysis and looking at the performance safety and durability and reliability, the functionality, it will be okay. that happens very often as we buy steel to make the bodies of the vehicles. >> then you don't need specifications -- with all respect -- what you just
answered is gobbly guk. why in the world would you not refuse it and only accept the part that meets specification? >> there needs to be a well documented process if you accept a part that doesn't meet -- >> would the gentleman yield? >> briefly, yes. >> do you want that information? >> on steel? >> on the ignition switch -- >> if it didn't meet specifications, you would have the information on the starters that it met all of the other criteria. >> that is part of the investigation but clearly, by the fact we made a recall, it did not meet the performance -- >> we have the advantage as subcommittee that we know now what happened in the past. we know now there's a real problem. we know now that a number of
young people have lost their lives and apparently because of this, this defect so we have the advantage of hindsight. and i -- i understand that. but as she xbrust said and number of others, there's no reason to have specifications if you don't enforce them. this next question is not a trick question but it's an important question. right now, how many parts are being used in general motors product that don't meet your own company's specifications? >> i don't have that exact number but i can tell you the parts that we're using today meet the performance and the reliability, the safety they need to if we find we have a part that is defective that doesn't meet the requirements, then we do a recall. >> well, again, with -- that's not an acceptable answer i think to the american people.
we're not telling you the specifications -- now, there are some safety specifications that by law and nitsa by regulation sets but there shouldn't be a part used in any gm product or any other automobile product that is sold in the united states that doesn't meet the specifications. my last -- >> at what level was the decision made to override and use this part even though it didn't meet specification? was that made at the manufacturing level? the executive level? or even at some subcomponent purchasing level? do you know that? >> that's part of our investigation to find that -- answer that question. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. gentleman now recognizes mr. braley for five minutes. >> you've been focusing your
attention on members of this committee and answering our questions. i've been staring at these photographs in the back wall and i see young women the same age as my daughter. i see young men the same age as my two sons. my son paul owns one of your cobalts. i see a young marine and his dress blues and reminded the forecast i have in my office upstairs of my father at the age of 18 and his dress blues at camp pendleton. and the focus of this hearing so far has been on gm's commitment to safety, which i think we all agree on is an important topic for this hearing. you testified in your opening and i think i'm quoting, our customers and their safety are at the center of everything we do. and you responded to a question from ms. blackburn and told us you were going to run gm differently than it's been run in the past. i have a copy of gm's march 18th
press release announcing jeff boyer as your new vice president of global vehicle safety. in this press release, he is quoted as saying, nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and the vehicles they drive. today's gm is committed to this and i'm ready to take on this assignment. 20 years ago before this hearing an iowa family harmed by another defective vehicle gave me this promotional screwdriver set that they got from their local gm dealer. and if you look at it on the outside, it has a slogan. safety comes first at gm. my question for you, what's changed at gm? isn't it true throughout its corporate history, gm has
represented to the driving public that safety has always been their number one priority. >> i can't speak to the statements that were made in the past. all i can tell you is the way we're working now, the training we've done, we've changed our core values, we're leading by example. we're -- one of the process changes we've also made in addition to when the technical community makes their decision about a safety recall or a recall, we are going to be reviewing it. the head of global product development and myself, to see if there's more we want to do -- >> hasn't the core values of general motors always been that safety comes first? >> i've never seen that part before. >> isn't it true that throughout the history of the country it's made representations like this to the driving public as a way of inducing them to buy your vehicles?
>> today's general motors, all i can tell you is today's general motors we are focused on safety. we have over 18 vehicles that have five-star crash rating. our entire buick lineup meets that requirement. >> but we're talking about these vehicles and what's changed. have you had a chance to read this article in the saturday new york times florida engineers, eureka moment with a deadly gm flaw. >> i believe i read part of that article. >> he wrote about an engineer named mark hood at a loss to explain why the engine in brook melton's cobalt shut off causing her fatal accident in georgia. then he bought a replacement for $30 from a local gm dealership and the mystery quickly unraveled. for the first time someone outside gm even by the company's own account, had figured out a
problem that it had known about for a decade and is now linked to 12 deaths. even though the new switch had the same identification number, mr. food found big differences and the article continues, so began the discovery that would set in motion gm's worldwide recall of 2.6 million cobalts and other cars and one of the gravest safety crises in the company's history. do you agree with the author this is a grave safety crisis in the history of general motors? >> i've said that this incident took way too long. it is not acceptable and that's why we're making radical change to the entire process. adding more resources and naming vice president of global vehicle safety who is tremendously experienced and of the highest integrity. we will continue to make processes and process changes and people changes as we get the results of mr. valucas investigation and take all of those recommendations and make changes. >> before i yield back, mr.
chairman, i would like to ask unanimous consent to have this article added to the record for the hearing if it's not already part of the record. >> we have no objection -- >> if the gentleman would yield his remaining second. ms. barra said they changed their core values. it would be great to submit what those new core values for gm are so we have those for the record. >> we'll ask for the record. >> i would also like to have any prior statement of core values from general motor over the last 20 years so we can see what has changed, mr. chairman. >> we'll ask members for several to submit for the record. we recognize the vice chair dr. burgess for five minutes. >> thank the witness for spending so much time with us this afternoon. you mentioned, ms. barra, that over a decade ago general motors embarked upon a small car program. do you recall why that was? >> i'm sorry? >> why did they embark upon a
small car program over a decade ago? >> to have a complete portfolio, i believe. >> the but the remission or type of car that was manufactured by gm previously had not fit that model, it was an entirely new business line that g mx was undertaking? >> the cobalt and several cars but specifically about the cobalt, it was following a previous small car but it was an all new program architecture, et cetera. >> was any part of this done in -- because of the cafe standards that were changing? any of this done because of congressional action that occurred previously? >> i can't answer that question. i wasn't in decision-making at that point. >> let me ask you this, when mr. waxman was giving his opening statement he said it was a shame that national highway traffic safety administration did not have access to the same
information that general motors had. do you think that was a fair statement for him to have made? >> as part of the investigation, i'm looking at what information was provided and when. >> and that's -- becomes then the troubling part of all of this. i think you look at tab 8 in the information binder, and this was talking about the ignition key, cylinder assembly and the date of the pdf that i have is january 1st of 2005, again, we'll find that under tab 8 but later on in the same document, it says we're closing this with no action. the main reasons are all possible solutions were percented and lead time was too long and cost and piece price were too high and none of the solutions seems to fully countermeasure the possibility.
so that was all in january of 2005. then you know, as part of our document evaluation for getting ready for this hearing, there were several accident reports that were supplied to us and one of those occurred not too far away in maryland in the middle of the summer of 2005. and that accident sequence, a cobalt hit a series of trees at the end of a kul desack and the driver was fatally injured and wasn't wearing a seat belt. wasn't a large individual, weighed about 100 pounds. because the air bag did not deploy, it would be my you have too wonder, if the air bag deployed. her body into the steering column or the steering wheel being indented to the lower part
of the driver's body, hit her under the rib cage resulting in a liver laceration which resulted in the time sequence together of the crash and get her to the hospital. you can't help but wonder because the other injuries that were reported with that crash, are really fairly mild. i can't help but think the people evaluating this must have asked themselves why no air bag went off with this type of crash? she was going 70 miles per hour and hit an oak tree. wouldn't that be a logical place for an air bag to deploy? >> it's a very tragic situation. some of the fatalities in this vehicles, we see as a tragedy and we have apologized. as i read the document that you asked me, i find that unacceptable that any engineer would stop at that point if there was an issue that they felt was a safety defect and
that's why we're doing the investigation, to put a complete time line together and i commit to you we will take action and made process changes and will fix the process. our goal is to have a world class safety process. >> i respect you for being here and answering that way. one of the other accidents that's reported in our binder under tab 20 was a head-on collision that occurred in pennsylvania. where the cobalt was not at fault, another car went over the center line and there was a hit on impact and air bags did not deploy and driver of the other vehicle, the air bag did deploy. it seems this should be a red flag to people who investigate air bag nondeployment as an occurrence or as an issue, the fairness let me state that all of the front see occupants in both vehicles were deceased as a result of that accident. the deployment of the air bag in that situation did not protect -- preserve the life of
the driver. but still, you would have to ask the question, you have a cobalt and hyundai meeting head on. why do cobalt air bags not deploy? exact same force for both vehicles and there was no interseed ent jarring of the vehicle. didn't run off the curb or run over another tree first. so the air bag did not deploy and why would that have been the case in that particular accident? >> it's a tragic situation. any time there's a loss of life in a traffic situation, this is not a report -- or an investigation that was done by gm. i can't answer your questions because it's usually very complex as they look at that. i can't comment on this particular study. >> if that is part of your internal -- >> time expired. >> i would like you to make that available to the committee staff and committee. >> we'll make whatever information we have available. >> thank you. >> we now recognize miss
janikowski for five minutes. >> mr. braley talked about the pictures in the back and what makes it more painful, these deaths were needless. i want to ask you for something more than an apology. one of the many questions raised is how gm today -- how you will handle accidents that happened prior to the company's bankruptcy. gm filed for bankruptcy in june of 2009 emerging as new gm, six weeks later. that means that new gm, the company as it exists today, i've been told may not be libel for accidents that occurred prior to july 2009. is that your understanding? >> we at general motors want to do the right thing for our customers. that's why we feel this is an extraordinary situation as i have said. it took too long to get to the
answers and understandings about this part. that's why we've hired mr. fineberg, we feel he has had extensive experience and will bring his experience and objectivity to assess what are the appropriate next steps. we do understand that we have civic responsibilities as well as legal responsibilities. >> are you saying that the hiring of mr. fineberg indicates that gm will give some kind of settlement with those individuals whose families whose loved ones lost their lives? >> we are -- we have just begun to work with mr. fineberg. our first meeting will be on friday. it will take probably 30 to 60 days to evaluate the situation. so i have -- we have not made any decisions. we have just started this process with mr. fineberg. >> and that might include people who have been injured as well? >> again, we have not made any
decisions. >> let me ask you this. during gm's restructuring, did the company disclose what it knew about the ignition switch defect by 2009 there is now doubt that officials in gm were aware of this problem. >> i was not aware of this issue. i can't speak to what was disclosed but -- again, our investigation will cover if there was any information. but to my knowledge it was not known at the senior leadership of the company. >> does gm accept responsibility for the accidents caused by the company's defective vehicles? >> first of all, i again want to reiterate we think the situation is tragic and we apologize for what has happened and we're doing a full investigation to understand -- >> i'm talking about responsibility and even liability. >> responsibility and -- i'm sorry, i don't understand. >> and even liability. you would take responsibility --
is the company responsible? >> the new gm, is it potentia responsible? >> we will make the best for our customers realizing that we have legal obligations and responsibilities and as well as moral obligations. we're committed to our customers and work very hard to do the right thing for our customers. >> i hope that you do do the right thing. let me ask you about some of the people who potentially knew about this. where's my -- hold on one second. you've reported the first time a president of global vehicle safety. i'm underwemed by that, thinking it's such an obvious thing to have someone high up that would in fact be able to connect the department so everybody knew. i guess it's a good thing it's finally done.
we know that degiorgio was the engineer who approved the redesign in 2006. is he still an employee? >> i believe he is. >> do you know who signed off on the initial faulty ignition switch that did not meet your specifications? >> i don't. but that's what i will learn with the investigation after we have a complete investigation from a very complex process, we will take action. we will change process and deal with any people issues. we demonstrated in the issues we learned in india with about a year ago, we will take serious steps and hold people accountable. >> no one right now has lost their job as a result about this knowledge about this defective part? >> we're just a few weeks into the investigation about mr. valucas and already made process changes.
as i return to the office after this we'll begin to look at the implications now that we have data coming from the investigation and take the appropriate steps. >> thank you. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. mr. gingry for five minutes. >> thank you very much. this hearing is much appreciated. pretty poignant to me since brook melton lived in my congressional district today and had it not been for an outstanding plaintiff's attorney in the judicial district of georgia and bringing this case, i'm sure it was against the local dealership, resulted in a settlement but it brought to light what's going on now. and the purpose hopefully some good can come from this hearing. i want to thank chairman murphy for holding it and investigating the root cause of the general motors recall of over 2.6
million vehicles linked to these defects. unfortunately, i heard just yesterday that the recall now includes 6.3 million vehicles. i do want to speak about this young lady named brook melton a nurse in georgia, which at the time was in the district i represent and she was tragically killed march 10, 2010 on her 29th birthday. and horrific side impact accident on highway 92 and the ignition switch in the accessory position, just the day before, just the day before her death, she took her 2005 chevy cobalt into the dealership for service. the service report stated, customer states engine shutoff while driving. please check. end of quote. despite the the fact that a
service bulletin was issued for faulty ignition switches back in 2005 for that make and that model, the on-site mechanics cleaned the fuel line and fuel injection and told her to come pick up her car, which she did. brook melton's tragic death is not acknowledged as part of this recall because it involved a side impact instead of a front impact. mrs. melton's parents, ken and beth, they are not here today i don't think but they deserve answers. ms. barra, is brook meltton included in general motors death count, yes or no? >> to my knowledge, no. it was a side impact. >> right. why did general motors not include the nondeployment of air bags from side impact accidents resulting in loss of life or injury in this recall? >> as you look at a frontal collision in the way the air bag
is to operate, i believe the assessment, the assessment was made that would be potentially be related to the switch. >> but if you connect the dots, the ignition gets knocked off to the accessory position and there was a problem, using faulty, even by your own standards, equipment, and so maybe what happened was that all of a sudden the car stalls and she's driving perfectly, trying to control without any power steering and power brakes, may very well have -- i don't know the details of that zept. may have run through a four-way or red light and slammed into from the side. and whether it was a head on collision or side collision, it was from the same reason and she is dead and that was almost four years ago. i don't understand why general motors does not include the side
deployment of air bags in this recall. can you explain that to us? >> first of all, all of the accidents and fatalities are very tragic, as you've indicated and we're deeply sorry for those. we've been very clear of the number that we put forward. there's been a lot of analysis to look at potential incidents and -- >> well, general motors investigate or do you plan to investigate whether this condition relates to the non nondeployment of air bags in side impact crashes? >> we have individuals that are looking at the available information from accidents -- >> you told us about your recent hire and i hope -- lastly ms. barra, to what extent does gm regularly inform dealerships, like the dealership obviously in cobb county, the 2005 technical service bulletin on faulty
ignition switches so that these service technicians and young guys maybe working there six months to a year, that they properly address a customer complaint like brook had the day before her death. >> i'm sorry was your question how do we communicate service bulletins? >> how do you make sure that these dealerships all across the country and their service departments are making sure that their technicians are getting and receiving the instruction? >> we can provide details and exactly how we communicate service bulletins and how it's ruled out to each of the dealerships across the country. >> i hope you will. thank you, ms. barra. >> related to the questions with all of the cars recall and waiting for parts, what are drivers supposed to do in the meantime when the car is sitting in the driveway? >> we have to communicate and we've done extensive testing that if you take the -- if you have just the ignition key with the ring or just the ignition key the vehicle is safe to
drive. if people are not comfortable with that, we are making loaners or rentals available. they can go to the dealer. we have over 13,000 customers that have these vehicles in rentals or loaners right now. >> and you're assuring people it is safe to drive if they just take the -- >> there's been extensive testing done by the engineering team and with just the key and the ring or just the key, we believe it is safe based on our testing. >> recognize -- >> mr. chairman, is that true of the earlier ignition as well as the 2006 -- all of them, all of these cars that's true? >> yes. >> thank you. >> you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have to believe for the members of family members and friends of the victims of this tragic outcome, it must be very painful process to sit here and
listen to the exchange. just to comment first, we're hearing a lot about information that would come post the investigation or the review. however, i hold in my hands february report and a march report to nitsa on behalf of gm under your watch, that provides detailed time lines with a whole bit of knowledge exchanged. i'm confused somewhat about that fair amount of knowledge that has been formally exchanged in nitsa and at the same time we're hearing, we don't know until the investigation is complete. so there's a conflict that i think is brought to bear here in terms of in exchange that has been detailed in the last few weeks. under the watch of the new
general motors today's gm. and at the same time, when i was listening to representative from illinois asked about the corporate chart and the changes, no changes have been made. we're waiting for that pending the investigation. but at the same time, we characterized or labeled it as today's general motors. while we're all products of the environment that produces us, the cultural impact of gm seems to still be in play with a number of people who have perhaps shifted positions but part of that organization. so comfort me by telling me that there's a new thinking. there's a new culture that has been set at gm while all of the players are there in the corporate chart.
tell me how the company is restructured and reorganized so as to bring comfort to the consumer. >> first, there are many new people in the company as well as people who have experienced across the company. there is a new structure, for instance, in global product development. we've stream lined and took out an entire layer of management in the product development. we've completely redone the quality processes over the last -- it started in the 2011, 2012 time frame. we changed our test procedure and added additional validation, there's been a complete remake of the way we drive quality and test failure instead of testing to a standard. that's just one example and we've looked across the entire organization. we've rebuilt our supplier quality organization and over 100 resources just in this country alone.
there's systemically gone across the company and making changes. even in the chronologies which i think you held up, those are the most detailed chronologies that we have ever provided, sharing in a summary fashion with the information we have now that we are conducting an investigation with mr. valucas, we've also roled out new values with rilgsships matter and individual excellence. we've trained thousands of people and most importantly, it's leadership at the top. it's the leadership of how we behave and when we make decisions and focus on the customer, focus on safety and focus on quality. i can tell you in -- from my leadership team and the next layer, we continue to drive that every day. we recognize culture exchange doesn't happen in a year or two. but we're well on that journey and we will -- are dedicated to it and very clearly want to have the safest vehicles on the road.
>> and will you make that list public from the report that you're anticipating? >> i'm sorry. >> will you make the list that will be coming forth public? >> the list of -- i'm sorry. >> the full report coming from mr. valucas. >> mr. valucas will make the findings and why give the appropriate findings -- >> what about full report zpl jo know if he'll give a report or share findings. >> if he does, will you share the report? >> we'll share the appropriate information. >> not the full report? >> i don't know if there will be a full report. >> if there will be a full report, will you share? >> we'll be transparent and share what's appropriate. >> in other words, there's no commitment to share the full report? >> i'm saying i will share what is appropriate. >> i hear the answer. mr. chair, i yield back.
>> gentleman from louisiana, mr. xal ease. my prayers are with the families who lost their lives and others who have been impacted by this. obviously the questions we have are even more pertinent to the families here and that's why it's important we ask the questions and get answers and work to ensure we can prevent something like this from happening again. we've got to get into the rereal details an what went on during this period of years. unfortunately years where it seemed somewhere inside of general motors there was knowledge that this was a problem before it got to the level of recall. and want to first take you, ms. barra, to the tab you got there,
tab 38. tab 38 is the signoff. this is called the general motors commodity validation sign-off. this is the actual sheet that the engineer signed off on that approved the design in the faulty ignition switch. have you seen that document before? >> this is the first time i've seen this document. >> what we're talking about here, how long have you been aware of the problem with these faulty ignition switches? >> i was aware there was a faulty ignition switch on january 31st. >> of this year? >> this year. >> as you're going through i'm sure some of the questions you have or asked and maybe some of the ones we're having, first question you would want to ask, did we know well in advance and why didn't you prevent it from happening? the first thing we are all talking about is when was this
found out within gm to the point they made a change. you made a design change. this form is dated april 25th of 2006. so 2006 is when your engineers and there's a name on the sheet, an actual engineer who you said under only earlier is still employed with gm. there's an engineer that signed this document requesting, not requesting, approving a change in this ignition switch. in fact, with a part number, part number is on here. has anyone at gm taken this -- an employee of yours, you can pull him aside right now and ask him, when you signed off in 2006, number one, why didn't you exchange the part number. and number two, why did you approve a change in the ignition switch and not bring it to the level of recall? in 2006 clearly people lost their lives after, after this was signed off on. so do you know right now, you're
under only. do you know of anyone that has asked the person that signed this, signed off on this, have any of you asked him those basic questions? >> i know this is part of the valucas investigation and i want to know the answers -- >> do you know of anyone who has asked that question. he's an employee of yours right now -- you can pull him aside when you leave here today and ask those questions. >> i think it's very important as we do an independent investigation that we let mr. valucas do a thorough investigation, talk to people that there's not a lot of side investigations going on. he's the one standard that we're going to use in this investigation brings objectivity to it. >> clearly -- you talk about a new culture. has anyone been held accountables of now for what's happening? >> again, we're just -- we learned of this on january 31st -- >> again, you have a design change in 2006 related to what
we're talking about. this is not a 2014 issue. the recall was issued in 2014 but the product, the product faulty ignition switch we're talking about was redesigned in 2006 by one of your engineers who's still an employee at general motors. if you can't give me that information and if you do find that information out, would you get that to the committee? >> it will be part of the investigation. >> other question i want to ask you, later on we're going to have the acting administrator safety administration some of the things he says in his testimony before you leave, i would like to get responses, he says, number one, we're pursuing an investigation whether gm met the timeliness responsibility to address this defect under federal law. are you aware of whether or not gm has met its obligations of timeline timeliness? >> that will be part of the investigation that we're doing -- >> you're not aware at this time. if you're aware of something, that would be a violation of federal law if you're aware of that already, can you share that
with us? >> i'm aware of the findings that i've already shareded from mr. valucas today. >> in the brief time i have left, gm had critical information that would have helped identify this defect. that's the gentleman that's testifying right after you. you don't have the opportunity to come behind him and respond. he's going to be saying this. he's writing this in his testimony. what would you say in sbons to his statement that gm had critical information that would have helped identify -- >> as i've already said, we've already learned through the investigation there were points in time where one part of the investigation had information that wasn't shared across to the other side of the organization, at this point they didn't understand that the information would be valuable to another party. so i've already shared we have found that to be true and made changes to the structure and responsibilities of people so that won't happen again. >> we appreciate getting the full range of answers to all of these questions and with that i
yield back the balance of my time. i know recognize mr. green from texas. >> thank you. first of all, congratulations on being the ceo of general motors. like a lot of my constituents, i've been a customer of gm. in fact i can't list the number of vehicles i've owned. i have a malibu and a blazer and we keep them for a long time. although mr. chairman, i was surprised that doctor gingrich was a good friend of mine, to say he thanked the lawyer, at least you have democrats and republicans on the same side of something.
you have gone down the litany of the questions and the problems that were happening. it's like he has everything in the world on that key ring but getting down to down to the ignition you modify the switch ignition. i have a constituent whose mother owns a 2003 regal which is ten years old and she has owned gm products like i was for
years. the regal began stalling and turning off and the car had less than 50 tho,000 miles. each time the dealer did not fix the problem. she finally found a shade tree mechanic who finally fixed it. i hold the shop to a higher level because they know the product. can you confidently say that these are limited only to those models of vehicles or is it other ones like the regal or like the malibu i drive? >> again, i'm not aware of any
other stalling issues. if there is a defect that you are aware of, i would like to look into it. >> i have a couple of minutes left. i represent an industrial air yaxt what we do is dangerous. you have to take extra concern about it. it looks like in the years, the culture of the company is not there to deal with that. as the new ceo i would hope that you make sure it happens. i have said i hope that i have a kem chemical plant or refinery and we were able to pin point what the decision was made that they didn't do that caused
people to die. that is what happened here. general motors is a greater company than to do that. i would hope the culture of your corporation would be better so that it would continue to easteearn the respect that this lady and i ha have. but you need to fix it. and fix it as quickly as you can because it will cause problems. >> i agree with you. it is completely my responsity. i will work day and night and i recognize that it is my responsibility. >> should she have her mother in phoenix take that regal back and have it checked by a dealer now? >> yes, i wish you would send a note to me. >> i'll get you that information. thank you mr. chairman. i recognize mr. griffin for five
minutes. >> you have indicated that not having a part number when the part was changed in 2006 was not acceptable. is that correct? >> yes. >> i guess it is hard to figure that somebody would have done that by accident. that was a breach of protocol wasn't it? ji don >> i don't think there was an acceptable reason to do that. it might be that it is harder to track the problem with the old part when you have an improved new part that is put in it's place isn't that correct? yes, or no? >> yes. >> while you have indicated that you did not know the individual name of the person that made that decision do you know whose job title it was or whose chain of command it was not to create a new part number for that part?
>> it would be within the engineering organization and i will learn that and we will take appropriate action. >> would that have been under your chain of command? >> february of 2011. >> but it never get to you? >> no, it did not. >> i have this question and i think that the answer probably is that your investigation will reveal this it is concerning that the trial lawyer that uncovered this, you have sharp people working at gm as well do you not? >> i believe we do. >> it is one of those questions that i'm sure your investigation will uncover but why didn't your team of engineers connect the dots and figure out when the ignition slips into the auxiliary position the airbags won't function properly?
>> those are the questions i want to answer it has taken way too long and we will make changes and hold people accountable. >> not only hold people accountable and i know you are in a tough spot on that. i know you have said that one of the kwengs thquestions that i w is that it wouldn't it be easier to list it in the bankruptcy instead of having to come out now wouldn't it? >> the best thing in the world would be as soon as we find a problem would be to fix it. >> and here's here's one of the things that concerns me. have you been given estimates yet by mr. feinberg or others as to best or worst-case scenario? >> we have been in conversations
with him and i believe we will work through him to evaluate the situation. >> has anybody else given you a best or worst-case scenario in the situation? >> there have been a lot of estimates but none specifically to he. >> would those liability issues have negatively impacted the prospects of either a bail out by the federal government or prior to the bail out, the people who were lending you money to keep gm afloat with it's heavy liabilities would not those that have come forward by this problem have had the potential to dissuade private investors or the federal government from giving cash to gm. >> as i look attis, and fix it,
then there aren't liabilities and they are contained. we are going to make the change and accept that. >> i don't feel appropriate commenting. >> i appreciate that. >> when this issue first came up the core spending problem resolution tracking report document identified the issue of severity three. i'm referencing back to some of the documents that your folks have given us in 2004 or 2005
when your problem resolution tracking system report came out it related this problem as being severity three. what does that mean? i don't have a specific definition for that. >> can you get one for us? >> i can. >> i revealyield back. >> did gm purposely and willfully negotiate during a bankruptcy issues or in the process of obtaining the loans purposely with hold the information about the cobalt or other cars? >> i am not aware i didn't personally with hold information but i can not speak to any other person.
i thank my colleagues for their focus on this hearing. this issue came to light in 2006 is that correct? >> through our investigation it came to light. it came to light to me on january 1st, 2014. that is totally irrelevant to the people who lost their lives. you are the current ceo, but that is not relevant. >> i thought you asked when i became aware of that. >> no, gm. >> that is what we will learn in our investigation. >> you changed the witch ed th
2006. >> would it be logical to 2006 to 2007? >> i hope to get those answers. >> wouldn't that be a starting point? somebody for some reason decided to change a very kacritical pare car between 2006 and 2007. let me ask you this. if you had recalled cars aggressively in 2006 when you were making the decision you gm, not you. changed the switch. how many cars has you recalled when you made the decision to change the switch? >> i can get you the exact number but it would have been significantly less. >> give me an estimate. you can talk to your back row
there if you want. i would assume it is something about $1.2 million. >> just from -- you would have cut it at least in half or maybe more. >> we are starting with vehicles that the saturn ion was in production in 2003. >> what would have been the cost had they done it in 2007? >> when we looked at the population from 2003 to 2007, it would have been a higher number. that would have probably, the estimated cost is something less than $100 million. >> what do you estimate would be the cost of the recall now that it is being done 8 years later? >> there is a larger population. >> i want an estimate. i want people to be able to hear
this. the decision delayed is money and lives at risk. i'm trying to get an opinion from you and it is ball park so it can be adjusted as to what the cost would have been had you acted 8 years ago. >> we would have had a smaller population. >> i'm not trying to be difficulty don't understand your question. >> if i were on the board of directories and i had an oblygation to shareholders and i had a company that could have acted 8 years ago with a problem but by not acting let that problem do more damage to shareholders and to the bottom line and to the reputation of this company and cause we don't know how much harm to citizens, i would want an answer to the
question. >> i agree and it would have been substantially less at that time from had we done it than what it would be now. >> gm was involved in litigation concerning allegations that this switch was involved in problems caused by this? >> yes. >> and gm settled some of these matters correct? yoo corre >> correct. >> those were secret? >> they are confi dengsal. >> they are by both parties. >> it usually means by the party that pays the damages. >> this is not good. >> do you believe that when a company that has been sued about a matter involving product safety where a person has been
seriously injured or has died that the company that settles should be entitled to keep secret what that settlement was about. >> i'm not -- i think that there are issues associated with that that every settlement is unique and that is a decision that is agreed to buy both parties. i don't have a comment on that. >> if a company, gm or any other company settles litigation, and pays a substantial amount of money pertaining to an allegation about serious body injury or death, should that company be permitted to keep secret that settlement, information to protect the public. >> if the two parties involved in the settlement agree to it
that is their agreement. >> so if you don't have to do it you don't have to do it. >> i yield back. >> now recognize the gentleman from missouri for five minutes. >> thank you. thank you for being here. and i want to thank the families that are here today for keeping safety in the forefront of americas and congress's consciousness when it comes to automobile sef afety and we hav heard about this same sub committee in the past. dealing with the issues when i came to congress. we have heard about the toyota accelerating car issue and like i said, i wasn't here, but i can imagine that the questions were similar who knew what when, did you know this person, have you
done anything about it. i want to take a different tact with my line of questioning as i normally do. people ask me all the time do you think you make a difference? when you go to congress, you are up here a few years do you think you are making a difference. that is hard to tell somebody. but today, this is a day that i want to look back on and say i think i made a difference. we got some answers do you remember the gm faulty ignition switch. >> yes, and with that i thank the families for being here and keeping it in the forefront of
safety. there are not other people sitting in the same seats, hopefully there won't be a next time and the finger pointing, the old analogy, when you are pointing a finger, you have three pointing as yourself. what i would like to get answers to is how the national transportation national highway traffic safety administration and you all as an automobile manufacturer if you can work, to see that this doesn't happen again so that the two organizations can work together and drill down on problems when we first learn them whatever the next problem may be the chairman's questions a while ago and i don't know what he was
asking about, but you said i was not part of that organization at the time. i'm sure that was something within agageneral motors. you and i have a history that goes back to when you were 18 years old. so you were there. your father i believe worked 39 years for pontiac. i go back to 18 years old with again gentlelady mgeneral motor. when i was 18, my parents bought me a jimmy. it is like a blazer. from 73 to 05 i drove nothing but general motors suburbans. i remember times when the key would be in there and you would go to put your key in and it