WASHINGTON, April 15 U.S. lawmakers probing how
General Motors used faulty ignition switches in many
vehicles are turning their scrutiny to the supplier of the part,
A group of senators on Tuesday wrote to Delphi Chief
Executive Officer Rodney O'Neal, asking for information about
whether the parts supplier pushed back against GM after the
automaker apparently did not accept a proposed fix to the
"It is our understanding that a fix was proposed by Delphi
regarding the ignition switch in 2005 but GM did not adopt the
change," the letter said. "As we continue evaluating the GM
recall it is critically important that we understand the
decisions made by Delphi and the company's interaction with GM."
Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, signed
the letter along with three fellow senators - John Thune, the
top Republican on the panel, Democrat Claire McCaskill and
Republican Dean Heller.
A spokeswoman for Delphi did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
Congressional investigators have so far mostly focused their
attention on GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, which have both come under scrutiny for not
acting on years of warning signs about the deadly defect.
GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles, including Chevrolet
Cobalts and other models with ignition switches prone to being
bumped or jostled into accessory mode while cars were moving,
which could shut off engines and disable power steering, power
brakes and airbags.
The faulty part has been linked to at least 13 deaths. GM
has hired former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas to conduct an
internal investigation into the faulty switches and subsequent
Delphi officials have told investigators from the House of
Representatives that GM approved the ignition switches, even
though the parts did not appear to meet GM's own specifications.
Delphi has also been drawn into a mounting wave of
litigation for its role in producing the faulty switch that
prompted the recalls.
The senators on Tuesday asked Delphi whether the parts
supplier originated the discussion to fix the part, or if GM
did. They also asked for the reasons why a design change was
rejected in 2005, if Delphi protested the decision, and if
Delphi communicated with NHTSA about the ignition switch.
The senators asked for answers by April 28.
It is unclear if Delphi executives will be called to
testify. After holding hearings earlier this month with GM CEO
Mary Barra and the NHTSA chief David Friedman, lawmakers expect
to zero in on GM engineers critical to the development and
oversight of the faulty switches.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Eric Beech; Writing by Karey
Van Hall; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)