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GM Recall Death Toll to Rise?; What Did Mary Barra Know and When Did She Know it?
NLPC ^ | March 13, 2014 | Marl Modica

Posted on 03/13/2014 10:35:45 AM PDT by jazusamo

crashed Cobalt

The New York Times hinted that the 11 year death toll for victims who drove defective General Motors' vehicles (that are just now being recalled) may rise from the current 12 confirmed fatalities. The Times reports, "Since 2003, GM has reported at least 78 deaths and 1,581 injuries involving the now-recalled cars, according to a review of agency records."

It is not clear how many of the accidents involving one of the 1.6 million now-recalled vehicles were caused by the defect. The article does state that "the records mention potentially defective components" and "regulators appear to have overlooked disturbing complaints of engine shutdowns."

The basis of the report is a new chronology of events regarding the recall. The chronology also gives evidence that now-GM CEO Mary Barra was likely aware of the problem in 2011. GM's response to the escalating scandal was to offer drivers of its defective vehicles loaner cars and $500 discounts towards the purchase of a new GM vehicle.

Mary Barra says that she will personally oversee the investigation to determine why motorists' lives were put at risk for years after the company knew of the problem. Considering that Ms. Barra was the head of product development in early 2011 and oversaw quality control, perhaps the investigation should include her accountability in not bringing the problem to light.

Regarding the deadly defect delay, the new chronology of events presented by GM states that, "In late July 2011, a meeting was held at GM involving Legal Staff, Field Performance Assessment ("FPA") and Product Investigations Personnel who would be involved in the Field Performance Evaluation ("PFE") process." Given Ms. Barra's position at the time, it is hard to believe that she was not aware of the issue. Ms. Barra's previous engineering roles may have made her aware at an even earlier date. The timeline of events clearly makes "New" GM accountable for the recall delay.

GM's response to its fatal recall delay has been deplorable. Only after media sources began to escalate the story did the company act as if it cared about getting to the bottom of why it took 13 years ( reports now point to 2001 as the year GM first became aware of the problems ) to recall vehicles that they knew were unsafe. GM's initial response was to recall only a portion of the dangerous vehicles that were on the road as the company cited alcohol, weather conditions and speeding as factors in accidents that killed drivers of defective GM vehicles. The company also blamed drivers for operating its defective vehicles with extra keys on the key chains.

The vehicles in question had defective ignition switches which turned off power to the cars under certain conditions, killing steering, power brakes and air bag systems. Only after the company was criticized for recalling just a portion of the deadly vehicles did the company expand the recall to include all of the defective cars. GM's attempt to now try and capitalize on the tragedy by offering discounts in an attempt to sell new cars is despicable.

The recent offer by GM of loaner cars and $500 off a new GM vehicle to drivers of the dangerous recalled cars is reminiscent of a scene from the movie Fargo, when a car salesman addresses a complaint from a car buyer who was charged $500 for "Trucoat," which the purchaser never agreed to. After saying he discussed it with a manager, the sleazy salesman's resolution was, "Well, he never done this before, circumstances and all, he says I can knock a hundred dollars off that Trucoat." Does the GM response to help drivers of defective vehicles by offering $500 off a new GM vehicle sound like a sleazy sales ploy? As they would say in Fargo, "Yah, you betcha!"

$500 off of a new GM vehicle will not resolve the deadly recall delay issue. Both GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have lots to answer for regarding the botched recall. Why did they allow deadly vehicles to remain on the road for years after complaints of defective ignition switches and fatal accidents were reported?

One of the most disturbing aspects of the GM recall scandal is the fact that American lives are entrusted to government agencies that work for an Administration that is in bed with a major corporation and then those same agencies are put in charge of regulating the crony company. It is a fact that President Obama ran a reelection campaign that focused on the perceived success of GM and the auto bailouts. His opponent, Mitt Romney, was lambasted for suggesting that the government should not have interfered to the extent that they did in bailing out GM.

The obvious conflicts arising from the executive branch of our government having a vested interest in the success of a major US industrial corporation warrants further debate. Billions of dollars of taxpayer money were spent to bail out the UAW, which then came out in force to help with President Obama's reelection bid. At the same time, regulating agencies like NHTSA, the Justice Department ( which is now in charge of a criminal investigation of GM ) and the SEC are placed in charge of overseeing crony corporations.

The determination as to how "successful" the auto bailouts really were will now have to take into account the lost lives of those who died in defective GM vehicles that were allowed to remain on the road by the bailed-out company and the regulating agency that should have made sure these vehicles were recalled long ago. Whether or not NHTSA was influenced by GM's crony status with the Obama Administration when they continued to overlook the company's deadly defect, it is hard to deny that the conflicts of interests are obvious.

Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: delayedrecall; generalmotors; gm; recall
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This is not going away, it's snowballing on GM.
1 posted on 03/13/2014 10:35:45 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

It’s as bad as the sticking accelerators on Toyotas. No automobile is perfect. And every flaw could lead to a misshap. If we were talking about hundreds of deaths I’d feel a lot differently about this.

And yes, if it was one of my loved ones, I’d feel really bad, but I would if my loved one was the very first one to die before anyone even knew there was a problem.

This is not a high risk defect. The low number of deaths proves it.


2 posted on 03/13/2014 10:40:09 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

“This is not going away, it’s snowballing on GM.”

Good.


3 posted on 03/13/2014 10:40:25 AM PDT by brownsfan (Behold, the power of government cheese.)
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To: cuban leaf

The biggest problem is they knew about it right off and did squat about it when they could have prevented deaths and much damage.

I view that as criminal.


4 posted on 03/13/2014 10:43:56 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: cuban leaf

Five nines is a big deal in business. The gold standard for reliability and safety is 99.999%. It is rarely achieved, however.

And when you divide the number of deaths by the number of cars sold you end up with better than 99.999% safe. When dealing with an item that is sold in huge quantities, it is critical to focus not on the number of customers adversly affected, but rather the percentage.


5 posted on 03/13/2014 10:44:22 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

Well, that’s probably a good thing.

The US auto consumer as well as US industry would be well served if GM were put out of business.


6 posted on 03/13/2014 10:44:25 AM PDT by NVDave
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To: jazusamo

The biggest problem is they knew about it right off and did squat about it when they could have prevented deaths and much damage.

I view that as criminal.


I view it as acceptable and reasonable risk. See my post above this one.


7 posted on 03/13/2014 10:45:00 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

So, if the government owned a fairly big piece of GM during all of this, and you can discover enough evidence that they knew about it and weighed in AGAINST the recall, then will the government allow a suit against them as the shareholder with controlling interest. Is there enough to pierce the corporate veil?


8 posted on 03/13/2014 10:50:04 AM PDT by RinaseaofDs
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To: cuban leaf
It’s as bad as the sticking accelerators on Toyotas.

If you mean the behavior of the Government Motors, then yes, it is just as bad. The non existent sticking accelerator myth was used to attack a competitor of Government Motors, with the help of the MSM. Later investigations revealed that the accidents were all do to driver error, mistaking the gas pedal for the brake.

9 posted on 03/13/2014 10:52:45 AM PDT by sportutegrl
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To: RinaseaofDs

I’m not really sure what they were supposed to “know about”. I mean, I’ll bet they know that if you run over a board with a nail at highway speeds with a standard tire, that they are somehow criminla in not notifying the public of that even though .00001% of the purchasers of their cars were killed when it happened. Maybe they are accountable because they didn’t use the new airless tires. I dunno.

I really hate GM, but I consider this a tempest in a teapot.


10 posted on 03/13/2014 10:53:01 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

“The biggest problem is they knew about it right off and did squat about it when they could have prevented deaths and much damage.

I view that as criminal.”

I agree with you.


11 posted on 03/13/2014 10:53:03 AM PDT by kitkat (STORM THE HEAVENS WITH PRAYERS FOR OUR COUNTRY.)
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To: All
New York Times article link at first of this article.

Auto Regulators Dismissed Defect Tied to 13 Deaths

12 posted on 03/13/2014 10:53:18 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: sportutegrl

The non existent sticking accelerator myth was used to attack a competitor of Government Motors, with the help of the MSM. Later investigations revealed that the accidents were all do to driver error, mistaking the gas pedal for the brake.


But they did stick. You just had to push the carpet up against it. And I’ve had that happen to me before in a Chrysler. And yes, the accelerator stuck, for a second. But I didn’t die because I know how to function as a driver of a car.

And I turned the key off in my old Vega at 70 mile per hour once to see what it felt like (I was 18 at the time). Yep. Teh steering locked up. So I turned it back on.

No car is perfect. Not all risk can be eliminated. And some risk is even so low as to be acceptable. And even then, the timeline shows that GM was doing “something”. It more than satisfies my personal grasp of the concept of risk assessment, management and mitigation. Statistically, this is a non-issue. And I really, REALLY hate Government Motors, but this is the wrong battle. The fact that GM did anything at all really surprises me.


13 posted on 03/13/2014 10:57:41 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

Apparently, this ignition issue has directly caused 12 deaths, and the fix was cheap and fast to replace.


14 posted on 03/13/2014 10:57:50 AM PDT by RinaseaofDs
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To: RinaseaofDs

With this administration I’d guess the chances would be slim to none, mostly none but I’m no legal beagle.


15 posted on 03/13/2014 10:59:14 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: RinaseaofDs

Apparently, this ignition issue has directly caused 12 deaths, and the fix was cheap and fast to replace.


How cheap? And how many deaths had already happened when they found the fix? And why an offer of $500 instead of a fix?

Five nines. That’s all I’m sayin’...

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=five+nines+safety&oq=five+nines+safety


16 posted on 03/13/2014 11:01:30 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

As much as I like the new Tahoe/Yukon and was seriously thinking about buying, this is the type of thing that makes me say no thanks. Yes, I know it’s taboo to even suggest buying a GM product around, but it’s a practical vehicle for my family and as much as I like Ford and Toyota, they are nowhere close to updating their versions (Expedition and Sequoia. And they are made in Texas.


17 posted on 03/13/2014 11:03:25 AM PDT by The South Texan (The Drive By Media is America's worst enemy and American people don't know it.)
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To: jazusamo

We are having problems right now with our 2013 Denali Terrain. GM knows it is a defect but is refusing to acknowledge and is calling it “normal”. The car has the anti collision audio and visual alert system. It does NOT have the collision breaking system. We will be driving in absolutely perfect conditions and out of nowhere the alerts go off and the brakes seem to make a grabbing sensation. Immediately, you have an “uh-oh” moment and instinctually brake the car, thinking you are about to become an insurance claim. We have been on the terrain forum website and others experience the same problem, which is quite unsettling. We have been told it is pre-charging the brakes in case you have to use them and if we don’t want it to happen we should turn the collision system off.


18 posted on 03/13/2014 11:04:39 AM PDT by Toespi
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To: jazusamo

The vehicles in question had defective ignition switches which turned off power to the cars under certain conditions


I’ve seen that in many articles about this problem. I’m really surprised nobody has told us what those “certain” conditions are. It should be very easy to tell us.

I’ll bet I could get a cobolt pretty cheap right now. I might look into it. Five nines is good enough for me.


19 posted on 03/13/2014 11:04:58 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: sportutegrl

You forgot with assistance of the Trial Lawyers.


20 posted on 03/13/2014 11:05:39 AM PDT by The South Texan (The Drive By Media is America's worst enemy and American people don't know it.)
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To: cuban leaf

$5 part, 10 minutes to replace.

I’m betting it was suppressed to keep the stock price up during a time when it was controversial for the state to own a car company.


21 posted on 03/13/2014 11:09:57 AM PDT by RinaseaofDs
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To: cuban leaf

Well, if it’s good enough for you it must be good enough for any new 16 or 17 year old driver for the last 10 or more years then. /sarc


22 posted on 03/13/2014 11:12:30 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: Toespi

I bought a 1980 Buick Skylark brand new and it was the buggiest car I ever owned. I had a moderately steep driveway and I could put my car in neutral or reverse and push both feet against the brake pedals as hard as I could and the car eased backward down the hill. Absurd.

And that was just one of a page worth of design defects that car had. I swore I’d never own another GM car but couldn’t resist a 2003 silverado z71 for my farm in KY at a very low price and good condition. The instrument clusted went TU. It only cost $85 to get fixed (Myairbags.com) but it was another case of GM’s “Test in Prod” attitude about foisting known defects onto the public.


23 posted on 03/13/2014 11:13:07 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: RinaseaofDs

$5 part, 10 minutes to replace.


Then why the $500 offer? That makes no sense.


24 posted on 03/13/2014 11:13:54 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: Toespi

That kind of thing from any company is unacceptable when there’s ant kind of safety issue.


25 posted on 03/13/2014 11:14:36 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: jazusamo

Well, if it’s good enough for you it must be good enough for any new 16 or 17 year old driver for the last 10 or more years then. /sarc


For virtually every single one of them, yep. Like most products.


26 posted on 03/13/2014 11:14:44 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf; RinaseaofDs
Here's the problem and I read a couple days ago it was cheap to fix.

GM Recall 2014: Pictures Of The Tiny Ignition Switch Part That Could Cost General Motors Dearly [PHOTOS]

27 posted on 03/13/2014 11:17:38 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: cuban leaf

It’s GM. I wasn’t aware of the offer.

I did some business with them back in the early 2000’s. Had no idea how they were keeping the doors open at that time.


28 posted on 03/13/2014 11:17:43 AM PDT by RinaseaofDs
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To: jazusamo

How frustrating! The article explains that the spring was not strong enough, but did not go into what activity or environment caused it to allow the ignition to go into accessory position. Was it just the act of driving that caused it, or did it take more than that?


29 posted on 03/13/2014 11:22:45 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo
It is a fact that President Obama ran a reelection campaign that focused on the perceived success of GM and the auto bailouts. His opponent, Mitt Romney, was lambasted for suggesting that the government should not have interfered to the extent that they did in bailing out GM.

During the campaign, Romney's advisors claimed that the GM bailout was his idea. He's not as lily-white as the article portrays.

http://www.businessinsider.com/auto-bailout-was-mitt-romneys-idea-apparently-2012-4

That said, yet another Obama scandal. Color me surprised.

30 posted on 03/13/2014 11:26:24 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Some people meet their heroes. I raised mine. Go Army.)
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To: RinaseaofDs

The $500 discount offer on a new vehicle was just made and it’s good until April 30, in my view they’re a lot of years too late with it.


31 posted on 03/13/2014 11:26:51 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: cuban leaf

There have been umpteen articles on this fiasco already and everything can’t be covered in one article.

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&authuser=0&q=general+motors&oq=general&gs_l=news-cc.1.1.43j0i3j0l9j43i53.3642.5445.0.7694.7.6.0.1.1.0.60.335.6.6.0...0.0...1ac.1.BXZGfLoGNOA#authuser=0&gl=us&hl=en&q=general+motors&start=0&tbm=nws


32 posted on 03/13/2014 11:29:49 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: sportutegrl
What Did Barra Know and Why Did He Marry It?

p.s. Agree with you on Toyotas. Had two of them during the controversy and even the local mechanics, over a beer, would tell you the "fix" was basically rearranging floormats, cautioning driver, etc.

33 posted on 03/13/2014 11:37:52 AM PDT by Fightin Whitey
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To: jazusamo

We are literally arguing over how hard it should be to intentionally turn the key from run to acc.


34 posted on 03/13/2014 11:44:02 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

I made that last statement after finally finding out what the actual problem was. There isn’t a problem. This is as political as the Toyota witch hunt.

At least, based on what I know now I see it that way. Too few deaths per 100,000 cars for this to be significant. It may be cheap to fix, but the number of cars that would need to be fixed per life saved is unbelieveable. And Zero deaths is not a practical goal.

To put it bluntly, cars would cost too much.


35 posted on 03/13/2014 11:46:44 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

The service department drove it sixty-five miles and couldn’t duplicate the event. This means the problem doesn’t really exist and we and the other consumers are nuts. It happened to me one day on the freeway when a car went around me pretty fast. It just started chirping and grabbing for no reason out of the blue and of course I reacted and braked. My husband told GM that when we are rear ended because we braked for no reason, they will be sued. They told him to keep the sensors clean. Lol.


36 posted on 03/13/2014 11:53:35 AM PDT by Toespi
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To: cuban leaf

“Five nines. That’s all I’m sayin’...”

So, are you saying that morality should have no influence on business decisions?


37 posted on 03/13/2014 11:54:16 AM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Colonel_Flagg

Whoa! Slow down there, Colonel. Romney was referring to the fact that he said GM should be allowed to go through a managed bankruptcy; NOT that billions of dollars should go to protect UAW interests while bondholders got shafted. And certainly not to help coverup a deadly defect, if that is what happened.


38 posted on 03/13/2014 12:24:47 PM PDT by Mark Modica
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To: cuban leaf

So let me get this straight, Cuban. This behavior is only unacceptable if more people died? What’s the minimum on the body count?

GM knew of a deadly defect. NHTSA also knew, but was in bed with the company. A clear conflict of interests. Both waited years to address and then only when the media jumped on.

Say what you want, but the NY Times and the USA Today have done a great job protecting Americans while “conservative” media outlets like O’Reilly and Hannity say nothing on Fox as they take millions of GM marketing dollars.


39 posted on 03/13/2014 12:28:58 PM PDT by Mark Modica
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To: Mark Modica

GM knew of a deadly defect.


Not a defect, according to what I read. And also not deadly - on its own. Rather, a device that was designed to allow a certain amount of torque to move the key from position to position, under certain circumstances, could allow the driver to unintentionally turn it. And it apparently resulted in roughly a .000001% death rate among drivers.

No car is 100% safe. It would cost too much. But if the death rate for this “defect” is as low as it appears to be, and the argument can be (and has been) made that other criteria would be needed to make it “deadly”. i.e. the key turning to ACC on its own is not enough to make it deadly, since it happened to many who did not die or even lose control of their car.

Do you think cars that don’t have five point restraint systems have “deadly” seat belts? I can pretty much guarantee that fewer lives would be lost if all cars had them.

And everyone wore helmets while they drive...

I consider this a more than acceptable risk, and the stats bear it out.


40 posted on 03/13/2014 12:47:32 PM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

Many years ago, there were cars, that with regular enough maintenance checks and cheap parts replacements, didn’t have ignition systems shutting down at random without warning. Granted, mechanical fuel pumps did stop suddenly (as electric ones sometimes do today) but not if replaced often enough (very easy task). The older cars could also be tuned to run very clean.


41 posted on 03/13/2014 1:10:17 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
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To: jazusamo

BTW, I was not referring to the old, defective GM distributors at the backs of the engines near firewalls. ;-)


42 posted on 03/13/2014 1:13:27 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
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To: cuban leaf

And everyone wore helmets while they drive...


Then the people who suffered whiplash and broken knecks from the additional weight from the helmet could berate the people who got concussions and brain damage from not wearing them.


43 posted on 03/13/2014 2:56:58 PM PDT by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: cuban leaf

Then why the $500 offer?
**************************
They’re not giving you or anyone else $500 ,, they’re offering you a puny discount on a $30k new car.. You will pay the same or more for that car “bottom line” than you will if you just walk into the dealership and make a deal without playing that card.


44 posted on 03/13/2014 4:52:33 PM PDT by Neidermeyer (I used to be disgusted , now I try to be amused.)
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To: lepton

Then the people who suffered whiplash and broken knecks from the additional weight from the helmet could berate the people who got concussions and brain damage from not wearing them.


Yep. There’s the rub. Make it extra safe and someone will complain. For all we know, this lock on the key, with a stiffer spring, causes people to complain that it is too hard to use.

There is always a compromise between cost, convenience, safety, performance, etc. GM thought they had it with this thing and it turns out they didn’t. They fixed it in future cars. But the older cars were still safe at a 99.999% level, which is very high.

I hate GM, but this is a tempest in a teapot, just like the Toyota thing, the Audi thing and the Pinto thing.


45 posted on 03/14/2014 4:46:37 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

“I consider this a more than acceptable risk, and the stats bear it out.”

Risking one life is immoral.


46 posted on 03/15/2014 10:15:15 AM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: dsc

Risking one life is immoral.


Not true. Life is risk. However, if you feel that way you really should drive a Volvo.


47 posted on 03/15/2014 11:36:24 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: dsc

Risking one life is immoral.


Thing is, when you build a car you are, by definition, risking the life of every single person who buys one or rides in one. But we’ve more precisely defined liability than that.


48 posted on 03/15/2014 11:37:26 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

“Thing is, when you build a car you are, by definition, risking the life of every single person who buys one or rides in one.”

That argument is tendentious at best. It is clear that there is a vast difference between selling a car that one has every reason to think is suitable for its intended purpose, and selling a car that one *knows* is defective.

Did that really need explaining?

“But we’ve more precisely defined liability than that.”

Two approaches to this statement:

1. Yes, and selling a car that one *knows* is defective rises to any reasonable limen for liability.

2. Liability is one thing; morality may be another, if a system is corrupt.

It is immoral to sell a car that one *knows* has a defect that might kill the buyer. An adolescent might take the time to list possible exceptions to this rule—what if the buyer knows the car is defective, et cetera—but none of those exceptions applies here.


49 posted on 03/16/2014 2:29:41 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: cuban leaf

“Risking one life is immoral.”
“”Not true.””

Really? You believe that you could risk my life—by, say, selling me a car with a defect that you know causes fatal accidents—and that would not be immoral?

Horrible, if true.


50 posted on 03/16/2014 2:33:24 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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