March 14 - More than 300 deaths are associated with General Motors recalls, according to a new study by the Center for Auto Safety, sparking criticism from the automaker, which called the report “pure speculation.” Fred Katayama reports.
More pressure mounting on GM. A study released by a safety watchdog says 303 people died when air bags failed to deploy on two GM models recalled last month. GM had earlier separately reported 12 deaths linked to the fault switch in the Chevy Cobalts and Saturn Ions in question. GM criticized the study commissioned by the Center for Auto Safety, which reviewed government safety data. The automaker said it was based on "raw data" and called it "pure speculation." The Center and another consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, called on GM CEO Mary Barra to create a $1 billion trust fund to pay victims. GM didn't rule out that possibility. GM's stock, which has fallen 8 percent in the last three days, fell further at the start of trade. But some analysts yesterday said it's a good time to buy the stock. UBS analyst Colin Langan said, "The stock correction more than reflects the financial impact." He says the ignition is an inexpensive repair; the recall doesn't impact any current models, and there's limited litigation risk because GM is only liable for incidents that occurred after it emerged from bankruptcy. Langan notes all but one of the 12 incidents GM reported had happened before GM had exited from Chapter 11.