2 comments to “GM Ignition Switch Scandal Echoes Infamous Fire-Prone Pickups Case”

  1. Mark

    The above article is a perfect example of how capitalism without GOVERNMENT REGULATION, (and in some cases much needed strict government regulation), has been working against the consumer, particularly the American Consumer for some time now. And increasingly against the American Consumer all in the name of profits to the extent of UNJUSTIFIABLE greed.
    Whats a few, or certainly MANY MORE than a few Dead Americans and the devestation such a loss means to the loved ones of those unnecesarily killed (more accurately murdered) not to mention the displacement of their lives as they know it in exchange for General Maoters bottom line for their company and investors.
    Decisions such as the above without a doubt kill people (not juist Americans.. also other men, women, children and pedestrians throughout the world) while knowingly pressing forward with these death causing practices only serve to underscore the truth. Capitalism not kept in regulatory check defines the darkest side of Business
    Clearly all those who have puchased GM vehicles and their steadfast appreciation and financial support throughout the last century for the General Moters Company means without a doubt GM surely would have never existed without this suipport of the people, (American people first, of course.) This fact is undeniable proof for the need of more critically necessary safety regulation to be passed by congress.
    THE ABOVE SITUATION WITH GENERAL MOTORS CAN BE FIXED REGARDLESS OF THE PRICE TAG. THE RESULTING AND VERY PRICELESS PAYOFF FOR THESE PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE WHO WILL OTHERWISE DIE SHALL RESULT IN EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM NOT LOSING THIER RIGHT THEY HAVE TO LIVE LIFE, INSTEAD OF BEING CHEATED OUT OF THEIR LIFE AS A DIRECT RESULT DUE TO THE INTENTFULL NEGLEGENCE OF GM AS A RESULT OF NOTHING OTHER THAN GREED.
    ADDITIONALLY, IF GM DOES NOT PROMPTLY FIX THEIR SCREW-UP, LET US NOT FORGET, DIMINISH OR IGNORE WHAT WILL CERTAINLY BE THE SECOND PHASE OF DEVESTATION TO THE LIVES OF THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS, LOVED ONES AND FRIENDS AS A RESULT OF THOSE WHO HAVE AND WILL CONTINUE TO PERISH DO TO THE FINANCIAL GREED OF GM WHICH WILL, WITHOUT ANY DOUBT, OCCUR AS A RESULT OF THE TRAUMA CAUSED BY THESE UNNECESSARY DEATHS. OVERALL DISRUPTION AND DISPLACEMENT OF THE LIVES OF THOSE CLOSE TO THE PERISHED. ALL THE ABOVE DOES TRULY DOES NOT NEED TO OCCUR IF GM DECIDES TO MAKE THE INVESTMENT AND FIX THEIR OWN MAN MADE ERROR, WHICH HAS YET TO BE FIXED !!!
    Why do our politicians NOT get involved to protect the American People? And why are the Judicial Systems not protecting the American People in this matter? (State and more important our Federal Judicial System [Department of Justice?]
    The American taxpayer saved General Moters. We are the American Taxpayers, we saved General Moters from the landfill, and now GM is complaining the cost to fix their problem is NOT WORTH saving Americans’ lives and the fallout all those lives who Will perish have touched.
    Mark Ryan
    Orland Hills, IL

  2. Joe McCray

    Recent news reports ( NYT, April 18) have GM successfully defending a petition for an order requiring the company to notify owners of cars with the defective ignitions to park those cars as being too dangerous to drive. Unfortunately, a Federal District judge in Corpus Christi declined, holding that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration was better suited to deal with such a question. That NHTSA has no statutory authority to issue such an order apparently escaped the attention of the judge. In any case, this sort of resistance is nothing new in GM’s recent history.
    GM’s disdain for the actual safety of its customers was manifest in the pickup cases when in 1994, in spite of an ordered recall, the company instead chose to pay millions to fund a never-realized safety design project. That left people using these vehicles out there vulnerable to a fiery death or burn injury. In fact, the incidents of pickup fatal fires continue as I write this.
    There is, I think, an attitude developed within the GM culture that easily shifts the risk of death or injury from the maker of a flawed product to the user. The company will not be put to such great expense or trouble to assure that its mistake will not continue to kill or injure. The recall, GM officials complain, has already cost billions and further steps would cost more billions.
    In the pickup litigation, a memorandum written by an engineer by the name of Ivey (whose first name I no longer recall) surfaced during discovery in one of my cases. Ivey was employed as an engineer in what was then the Pontiac Division of the Company and that was the division that had been tasked with the responsibility for fuel system integrity in all GM products. The memorandum was about a study conducted by Ivey and others within Pontiac which concluded that the cost of the repair of a fuel system defect had to be balanced by the cost of defending wrongful death lawsuits – at some point it is cheaper to defend the lawsuits. Among lawyers involved in the pickup litigation at the time, this memo was dubbed the “let ‘em burn” analysis.
    Deciding, as the company apparently has, to recall and fix cars with defective ignitions, but to do nothing more notwithstanding the long period needed to arrange for repairs, is very similar to the “let ‘em burn” attitude of the Ivey memorandum. The company refuses to take responsibility for whatever happens if you drive your car to a job you have to have, to classes for a degree or certification that means everything in your life, take your kids to school, etc. In due time, the company will provide a fix, but in the meantime, it will not discourage your use of the car.
    I suppose the ignition program is a step better than that experienced by the pickup owners, but it nonetheless is a program adapted to the world of GM’s corporate culture of disdain. Apparently, the new CEO of GM, Mary Barra, has declared that she would allow her son to drive one of these defective cars – thereby somehow endorsing their safety. Of course, the declaration is ridiculous as evidence of anything except the company’s desperation. Who is going to call her on it? If these cars are defective, which they are undoubtedly are, then she is not going to let her son drive one unrepaired.
    Grandstanding is not a substitute for corporate responsibility.

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