June 18 - CEO Mary Barra says GM must set a new norm and new industry standard on safety and quality. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday slammed General Motors Co for a "culture of secrecy" and said a company investigation that found top executives did not know for years about a deadly ignition switch defect does not absolve them of responsibility. GM Chief Executive Mary Barra returned before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee to face harsh questions about why the No. 1 U.S. automaker waited more than a decade to recall millions of vehicles with the defect linked to at least 13 deaths. Barra, who became CEO only in January but is a GM veteran of more than 30 years, has said she did not become aware of the problem until December 2013. Lawmakers said they are concerned that the number of recalls connected to ignition-switch issues continues to grow. In just the past week, GM has recalled more than 3 million vehicles that apparently suffer from a separate ignition defect than the 2.6 million vehicles already recalled for a deadly ignition flaw. GM has issued 44 recalls this year totaling about 20 million vehicles worldwide, which is more than total annual U.S. vehicle sales. Of the recalls this year, nearly 6.5 million of the vehicles were recalled for ignition switch-related issues, including more than half a million Chevrolet Camaros on Friday. The ignition-switch problems can cause the cars to stall during operation. Because of the engine stalls, air bags failed to deploy during crashes - some of them fatal - and drivers had difficulty operating their vehicles because power steering and brake systems also malfunctioned. A GM report released earlier this month said those employees either did not appreciate the danger of the flaw or did not share the risk with their superiors. GM and Barra have so far weathered the scandal with few signs of permanent damage. The automaker's May U.S. sales were up 12.6 percent from the prior year, well above analyst expectations, and its share price is slightly stronger than just before the announcement of the first ignition-related recall on Feb. 13.