General Motors Co will pay $35 million in US fine for not responding swiftly to an ignition switch problem with millions of its cars, the US Transportation Department announced today.
The auto maker is also facing probe by the federal government over the way it dealt with the recall of affected cars.
“What we cannot tolerate, what we will never accept, is a person or a company who knows danger exists and says nothing. What GM did was break the law … They failed to meet their public safety obligations,” said US Transport Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The ignition switch flaw was detected for the first time more than 10 years ago and has been tied to at least 13 deaths. However, the first recall was implemented in February 2014 despite consumers having complained for a long time, Reuters report.
The flawed ignition switches on affected GM vehicles can cause engines to stop, in which case air bags fail to deploy in the event of crashes. Also, when the ignition switch changes from “on” to “accessory” position, the power steering and power brakes may stall.
According to USA Today, the fine is part of a settlement with the DOT to resolve the question of whether GM notified the government of the car safety glitch within the required five business days of detecting it.
GM admits in the agreement that if failed to do so.
The company will also be sharing with the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a report compiled after its own internal probe.
CEO Mary Barra had earlier insisted before congressional committees in April that she would not provide them with full access to the internal probe’s results, but would surrender components linked to safety.
Foxx added that the GM fine serves as a warning to other vehicle manufacturers that there will be consequences for delayed reporting of vehicle safety defects.
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To contact the reporter of this story; Yashu Gola at email@example.com