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GM Attempted Ludicrous 'Fix' for Defective Ignitions in 2005
NLPC ^ | April 3, 2014 | Mark Modica

Posted on 04/03/2014 10:28:00 AM PDT by jazusamo

GM keys

General Motors' CEO, Mary Barra, testified this week at government hearings on the deadly recall delay that contributed to at least 13 deaths of motorists driving GM vehicles with defective ignition switches. During that testimony Ms. Barra discussed one of GM's ridiculous early "solutions" for problems with ignitions turning to the off position as vehicles were being driven. GM engineers designed an insert to be placed in the keys' holes in an attempt to limit how much key chains dangled. This "fix" saved the company a few dollars in labor costs that would have been charged if they recalled the vehicles to replace the defective ignitions.

Ms. Barra did not seem to think that this solution was as ludicrous as I do and the government investigative team did not press the issue. Maybe future hearings will question why such an absurd solution was offered.

NBC News reported that GM engineers thought this was a pretty good fix as well. During the trial which is credited for exposing GM's deadly actions in delaying the ignition switch recall, A GM engineer involved talks about the 2005 key insert fix as described by NBC News:

During testimony, GM engineer David Trush, who helped implement the insert fix, called the insert a "good solution" for a "very small population" affected by the problem.

"We put the solution out in the field," said Trush, "the solution that would solve some of the stuff."

The Meltons' attorney, Lance Cooper, then asked witness Gary Altman, who was GM's program engineering manager for the Cobalt in 2004 and 2005, if it was true that the car company "made a business decision not to fix this problem and five months later sold [Brooke Melton] a vehicle with the problem."

GM's lawyer objected, but Altman answered, "That is what happened, yes."

As if the key insert was not a poor enough solution, dealerships were advised by GM not to offer the inserts unless the owners of the defective vehicles complained!

Of course, Mary Barra will claim that this was all "old" GM and that "today's" GM does not operate that way. Really? Then why did it take almost five years for Today's GM to recall the vehicles? And then, only after media exposure pressured the company to do so.

Besides the question of why it took Today's GM almost five years to recall vehicles with deadly defects that they knew about, committees in charge of future hearings should consider these additional questions for Ms. Barra regarding how Today's GM has addressed dangerous vehicles needing recall:

Why did Today's GM only do a partial recall of dangerous vehicles in February of 2014, leaving other vehicles with the same defective ignition switch (which Today's GM was well aware of) on the road for about two weeks, until media pressure brought about the second recall for the remaining vehicles?

Why did Today's GM do a recall in 2010 for Chevy Cobalts and Pontiac G5s with defective power steering units only to leave about 1.5 million other vehicles with the same defective part on the road? These remaining vehicles were only recalled recently after the National Legal and Policy Center sent a letter to Ms. Barra requesting the recall.

Why did a Today's GM spokesman, Alan Adler, initially blame the victims for the fatal accidents involving vehicles with defective ignition switches, deceitfully claiming that, "All of these crashes occurred off-road and at high speeds..." and that alcohol contributed to the accidents? Will an apology be issued to the victims?

Who advised Mr. Adler to blame the victims and falsely claim that all defective vehicles that were involved in crashes were being driven "off-road?"

Who at Today's GM was involved and made aware of the 2011 high-level meetings addressing the defective ignition accidents? Why weren't you, Ms. Barra, as head of product development at the time?

Regarding meetings held in May of 2009, just two weeks prior to GM filing for bankruptcy, why wasn't the bankruptcy court made aware of the liabilities arising from the defective ignition switches as required by law? Why wasn't President Obama's Auto Task Force aware of the issues? Sorry, I know that's Old GM and not Today's GM's fault, even though most of the same people in charge today were there.

Whose idea was it to offer $500 towards a new GM vehicle to owners of old, defective GM vehicles in a sleazy sales ploy to help sell more cars? Do you really think that was a compassionate response?

Ms. Barra now has the attorneys that represent GM investigating the failures of Old GM. I am not confident that the same attorneys who are paid to protect Today's GM will give a scathing (or honest) report. I suspect that these are the same folks who tell spokespeople to make statements using terminology like "off-road" to describe how vehicles were being driven that lose control and veer off highways. Hey, technically they were being driven "off-road" since that is where the victims ended up after losing control. What sleazeballs.

The victims of both Old GM and Today's GM deserve justice and the American public deserves the truth. The sham bankruptcy process orchestrated by Obama's team should not protect Today's GM from accountability. And cronyism should not protect Today's GM and those responsible for leaving vehicles with deadly defects on the road from facing criminal charges.

Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government
KEYWORDS: delayedrecall; generalmotors; gm; recall
As if the key insert was not a poor enough solution, dealerships were advised by GM not to offer the inserts unless the owners of the defective vehicles complained!

This along with the recall of only some models with defective power steering are just two examples of GM trying to keep it quiet but because of exposure of the problems did as little as possible to keep costs down.

They were more concerned with saving a buck than with lost lives and injuries those defects caused.

1 posted on 04/03/2014 10:28:00 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

The left’s blame will be taxpayers.

“Taxpayers didn’t give GM enough bailout money to fix the problem”.


2 posted on 04/03/2014 10:34:40 AM PDT by TurboZamboni (Marx smelled bad and lived with his parents .)
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To: jazusamo
There is nothing wrong with the ignition switches.

All makes and models have had the same problem ever since they moved the switch to the steering column.

A friend of mine that had a tune up and dyno shop constantly encountered this 25 years ago with people who had large amounts of keys and other crap hanging from their ignition key!

3 posted on 04/03/2014 10:45:43 AM PDT by dalereed
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To: jazusamo

That solution does not seem ludicrous. It cuts right to the cause of the problem. It insures that the weight of some of those ridiculously cluttered key chains remains centered and prevents it from turning the key.

It’s kinda funny. My keychain contains three keys and nothing else. I have to fit it into my pocket, after all. My wallet also has two credit cards (they each double as ID to get into Costco or Sams Club), a debit card and a drivers license, and that’s it. I rarely even carry money.

And since Obamacare, I don’t even have to carry that old Humana card since I no longer have health insurance.


4 posted on 04/03/2014 10:48:01 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo
GM was taken over by the US government. The US government was in charge of GM, and knew about these problems, but remained silent. Obama, was in all sense the heard of GM. Obama is responsible for these deaths, and should be held personally responsible.
5 posted on 04/03/2014 10:50:21 AM PDT by Cowboy Bob (They are called "Liberals" because the word "parasite" was already taken.)
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To: dalereed; jazusamo

There is nothing wrong with the ignition switches.


I agree. This is really just like the “sticking gas pedals” on Toyotas. They sold over 1.6 million of these cars and there were 13 deaths caused by people with really heavy keychains. That is a 99.99924% safety record. It’s outstanding.

No, I’m not being sarcastic. When it comes to stats like this, I never really care about the number of people who died. I want to know the number relative to the number of units sold. 13 is a lot if they sold 20 cars. It’s statistically zero if they sold 1.6 million. Sure, it’s personal for the families of the 13, but that is an issue for a different thread - one on greiving for those who die from any sort of freak accident - which is what these folks died of.


6 posted on 04/03/2014 10:51:56 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: dalereed

On the original ignition switches for these compacts there was a problem. The spring was weak and the plunger for the detent was short. They made a change by lengthening the spring and plunger but never told anyone and didn’t change the part number.

This was talked about in the Congressional hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It’s true this has occurred with other makes and models for many years when key chains are loaded down with much of whatever but GM did and does have a problem.


7 posted on 04/03/2014 10:54:43 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

See my post 7.

This “non problem” is going to cost GM a lot.


8 posted on 04/03/2014 10:56:18 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: Cowboy Bob

The US government was in charge of GM, and knew about these problems,


I’m no fan of GM, but this is a witch hunt. It’s not about Obama, the government, or GM. A defective part causes a high percentage of deaths or injuries. 13 deaths out of 1.6 million cars is what is known as a “freak accident”. We can’t hold companies responsible for every single death when the numbers are tiny and the units sold are in the millions. These cars are actually very safe. Just take that teddy bear and fake gold bar off you key chain. Take the fuzzy dice off the rear view mirror while you’re at it. I suspect that causes even more deaths.


9 posted on 04/03/2014 11:04:02 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

This “non problem” is going to cost GM a lot.


Yep. Just like the accelerator problem with Toyota.

Both were non-problems, but sometimes you have to respond to bad PR.


10 posted on 04/03/2014 11:05:14 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

I guess Lee Iacocca is now off the hook for the infamous five-dollar Plexiglas shield for the Pinto gas tank that he rejected.


11 posted on 04/03/2014 11:06:16 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: cuban leaf

Its not unreasonable to expect that the switch works regardless of the weight of the keyring. Clearly they need to perform some real life beta testing of these systems, preferably using real life people and real life keyrings.


12 posted on 04/03/2014 11:07:37 AM PDT by RitchieAprile
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Ha...I owned one of those Pinto’s and got rid of it before that problem became known.


13 posted on 04/03/2014 11:08:59 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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Please bump the Freepathon or click above and donate or become a monthly donor!

14 posted on 04/03/2014 11:20:52 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: RitchieAprile

Its not unreasonable to expect that the switch works regardless of the weight of the keyring. Clearly they need to perform some real life beta testing of these systems, preferably using real life people and real life keyrings.


I agree. But I fall back on the same thing: The number of deaths caused by this per car sold is strikingly low.

I just saw Gravity. One of the interesting things in the movie is the way push button controls were on some vehicles. There was a wire screen around the buttons to ensure that you could not press two buttons at a time. The likelyhood of doing it is low, but the results of hitting the wrong button could be very bad.

It’s a risk assessment issue, and why bolts and nuts on airplanes are wired in position but are not handled that way on automobiles. Does this mean that nobody is EVER killed in an auto accident cause by a bolt that comes loose? Nope. But the cost of doing it relative to the lives saved makes it impractical.

Risk assessment includes three facets:
1. The likelyhood of a thing happening.
2. The impact of a thing happening.
3. The cost of mitigating the risk.

It’s why people don’t harden their homes against a meteor strike. Money is limited and must be diverted from other activities to mitigate the risk. Meanwhile, the cost of mitigating would be absurdly high while the risk is absurdly low, though the results of a strike would be devastating.

Same with this switch. The centered “hole” seemed like a low cost solution to a very low risk (as stats prove) “problem”.

The simple numbers and stats show that this is not a problem, though, of course, anyone directly impacted by it would disagree.


15 posted on 04/03/2014 11:28:27 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: jazusamo

I had a 1979 Chevy pickup and usually had about a dozen or more keys on the ring. Several years later, I could take the ignition key out of the tumbler and it would continue to run. Tumblers get worn out.

Everyone has called this the ignition switch, but the switch is actually mounted on the steering column about 2 1/2 or 3 feet from the tumblers. Totally different parts.


16 posted on 04/03/2014 11:28:38 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (The Second Amendment is NOT about the right to hunt. It IS a right to shoot tyrants.)
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To: All

Working link:

http://nlpc.org/stories/2014/04/03/gm-attempted-ludicrous-%E2%80%9Cfix%E2%80%9D-defective-ignitions-2005


17 posted on 04/03/2014 11:36:39 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: RitchieAprile
Its not unreasonable to expect that the switch works regardless of the weight of the keyring.

That's exactly right. If you're going to make a product, it had better be safe under expected conditions. A keyring with many keys might not be common, but it is not wildly abnormal.

Sort of like designing a set of stairs. It's not likely that three 400 lb people will be climbing those stairs at the same time. But you had better design for that possibility.

18 posted on 04/03/2014 11:45:33 AM PDT by Leaning Right (Why am I holding this lantern? I am looking for the next Reagan.)
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To: Arrowhead1952
Here's the ignition switch w/key inserted and lock assembly that's located in steering column.

GM-ignition-switch-recall-congress-hearing.jpg

19 posted on 04/03/2014 11:47:03 AM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: Leaning Right

“On a Clear Day One Can Foresee Forever.” a law school article


20 posted on 04/03/2014 11:48:08 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: jazusamo

>http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=wire+nut&id=D0C1C81F43E12A21EEBA994E67D88247465C3A7F&FORM=IQFRBA<


21 posted on 04/03/2014 11:49:04 AM PDT by G Larry (There's the Beef!)
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To: jazusamo

I remember the switch assembly being mounted on the column years ago. I hated replacing them, because you had to drop the entire assembly onto the seat to get your hands in far enough to get the old one out and new one in. I can see why that assembly could cause a problem.


22 posted on 04/03/2014 12:07:01 PM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (The Second Amendment is NOT about the right to hunt. It IS a right to shoot tyrants.)
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To: Arrowhead1952

I know they were a bear to change years ago, don’t know if they’ve gotten any easier, probably not.


23 posted on 04/03/2014 12:11:22 PM PDT by jazusamo ([Obama] A Truly Great Phony -- Thomas Sowell http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3058949/posts)
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To: RitchieAprile; cuban leaf

Just out curiosity, must a product prevent every form of misuse & abuse before it is considered alright to market? The prudent man theory seems to have been replaced by the perfect man theory, induced by blood sucking attorneys.


24 posted on 04/03/2014 12:54:55 PM PDT by Dutchboy88
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To: jazusamo

I wish GM had gone bankrupt and been acquired by Hyundai. Hyundai used to make terrible cars, but the company was turned around when a new CEO fired thousands of bean counters and hired thousands of engineers and implemented a rigorous quality control program. GM’s modified key slot fix was certainly not based on any engineering know how.


25 posted on 04/03/2014 1:10:10 PM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: Dutchboy88

Nailed it.


26 posted on 04/03/2014 1:42:37 PM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: Leaning Right

And when three 600 lb people cause it to colapse after 900,000 people use It with no prob, who should be blamed?


27 posted on 04/03/2014 1:46:36 PM PDT by cuban leaf
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