GM fined $35 million over deadly defect

General Motors has been fined with a record $35 million by Federal safety regulators to remain silent for over a decade about an ignition-switch fault in millions of cars which caused more than 13 deaths.

Although the fine was the maximum possible the Transportation Department could impose, it is less than one day’s revenue for General Motors.

According to an agreement with the Transportation Department, GM acknowledged it took too much time to inform regulators, and assured to report problems quicker.

Forced Changes

Along with the fine, the authorities are requiring modifications to GM’s culture that resulted in queries concerning its handling of the recall, which is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department as well as Congress.

Defect, Dangerous

Training materials of GM, the largest U.S. automaker discouraged workers to use words like defect, dangerous and several other words for investigators and engineers to communicate when they suspect a fault.

Record Fine

The amount of $35 million fine is the biggest imposed on a U.S. automaker for delays in announcing a safety recall. Earlier Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. paid $17.4 million, which was the maximum allowable at the time.

GM Changes

Inside GM, Vice president of global vehicle engineering, John Calabrese is retiring and his division is being divided into 2 units with new executives supervising the units. To speed up reviews, about 35 new safety investigators have been provided to the Global Product Integrity division.