GM to start compensating ignition switch victims: CEO Barra

WASHINGTON Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:30pm EDT

General Motors CEO Mary Barra holds a media briefing before the start of GM's Annual Shareholders Meeting at the GM World Headquarters in Detroit June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

General Motors CEO Mary Barra holds a media briefing before the start of GM's Annual Shareholders Meeting at the GM World Headquarters in Detroit June 10, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Rebecca Cook

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) expects to begin processing victims' claims related to faulty ignition switches by Aug. 1, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra will tell the U.S. Congress on Wednesday.

In prepared testimony to be delivered to the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, Barra also will say that Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing the creation of a compensation fund, will have "full authority to establish eligibility criteria for victims and determine compensation levels."

The defective ignition switches in older model Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other GM models have been linked to at least 13 deaths.

Barra testified to the panel in early April and was unable to answer many of the lawmakers' questions. She promised to come back after the company's internal investigation was completed.

Barra announced the results of that investigation earlier this month.

It outlined a long series of failures by GM personnel to take the ignition switch problem seriously and she promised to improve the company's performance and practices.

For more than a decade, GM engineers and others knew that the ignition switch had design problems. Those problems can cause GM cars to stall, which disables air bags and causes power brakes and power steering systems to malfunction.

Anton Valukas, who headed GM's internal investigation, will also appear before the House panel on Wednesday.

In his prepared testimony, he will say that "GM engineers were fully aware of this problem but did not consider it a safety issue."

Valukas' testimony portrays that shortcoming as "amazing."

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Eric Beech)

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Comments (3)
bluto1960 wrote:
We all recall the Aurthur Anderson scandals and many similar things including the FED, and SEC ineffectiveness and the IRS scandals.

Government regulators are usually politically biased or incompetent or more often both.

As for the victim compensation that remains to be seen.
As I recall the World Trade Center and BP oil spill victims were for the most part adequately compensated under the direction of Mr. Feinberg.

Jun 19, 2014 4:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
bluto1960 wrote:
Aside from an impartial independent task force appointed by a neutral third party Mary B. and Mr. Valukas are the best shot we have now of getting anything changed at GM during this millennium for now.

I Wouldn’t want congress involved much considering their track record and all they don’t understand much of what they do to as it is begin with .

The question remains what qualified group of people would compose neutral unbiased task force ?

OTOH I wouldn’t mind compelling Akerson, Wagoner and the entire cadre of senior leadership who served under them testify if necessary,” It seems like they may have got got a pass on all this .

Jun 19, 2014 4:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
bluto1960 wrote:
Aside from an impartial independent task force appointed by a neutral third party Mary B. and Mr. Valukas are the best shot we have now of getting anything changed at GM during this millennium for now.

I Wouldn’t want congress involved much considering their track record and all they don’t understand much of what they do to as it is begin with .

The question remains what qualified group of people would compose neutral unbiased task force ?

OTOH I wouldn’t mind compelling Akerson, Wagoner and the entire cadre of senior leadership who served under them testify if necessary,” It seems like they may have got got a pass on all this .

Jun 19, 2014 4:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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