Former and current General Motors employees are being interviewed by US prosecutors as part of the criminal investigation into the carmaker’s ignition-switch glitch that has been tied to at least 13 fatalities, according to sources.
Since early this year, the company has been hard-pressed to explain why it took it more than 10 years to initiate a recall of low-cost vehicles such as Chevrolet Cobalts whose ignition defect caused them to stall during use, Reuters said.
According to people familiar with the matter, Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office has summoned current and former GM staff for interviews.
On top of Bharara’s criminal probe, at least 11 state attorneys general are looking into how GM handled the ignition-switch issue.
On Friday, GM put to recall some 511, 528 GM Chevrolet Camaros following an ignition switch defect similar to the sort the one that affected the Chevrolet Cobalts and other cars.
The automaker has provided investigators with thousands of emails and other documents.
GM has recalled 16.5 million cars this year in 38 separate actions, 3.1 million of which had ignition switch complications. The overall figure is almost what the entire US auto industry expects to sale for 2014.
Consumers have filed at least 18 complaints since 2009 over Camaros for stalling of engines or power loss. Last week, GM fired 15 employees for their part in matters pertaining to the faulty switches in older models.
“It’s given prosecutors a preview of what people are going to say, it’s an introduction to the names and issues, and what one former U.S. Attorney’s take is on the case. But they’re clearly taking it with a grain of salt realizing it’s prepared by lawyers, who are paid by the company,” one of the sources told the Wall Street Journal about a report from an internal GM probe that’s already been handed to investigators.
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