DETROIT, July 18 General Motors Co in
2003 and 2004 made changes to redesigned ignition switch parts
on four models but did not ensure that older, potentially faulty
parts were taken out of circulation, the automaker said in a
filing with U.S. safety regulators made public on Friday.
That means that an unknown number of possibly flawed parts
could have been used to service GM models brought in for repair
at dealerships or repair shops after the redesign was made.
A GM spokesman said that no crashes, injuries or deaths have
been reported in any of the four older model Chevrolet Malibu,
Pontiac Grand Prix and Grand Am, and Oldsmobile Alero that are
involved in the issue.
So far this year, GM has recalled nearly 29 million
vehicles, including about 14.7 million for ignition switch
problems. Its chief executive, Mary Barra, has testified in
Washington four times this year, claiming that GM is observing a
new culture on consumer safety. Her latest appearance was on
Earlier this year, GM informed regulators that one of its
top engineers, Ray DeGiorgio, approved a redesigned ignition
switch for small cars including the Chevrolet Cobalt but did not
change the part number.
GM has admitted that at least 13 people were killed in
Cobalt and other small car models with faulty ignition switches,
which could cause engines to shut off while driving, leading to
a sudden loss of power steering and power brakes and the failure
of air bags to deploy in a crash.
A GM spokesman said on Friday DeGiorgio also approved the
redesigned ignition switches in the Grand Prix and other models
to which no deaths have been linked.
In the case of the Grand Prix, the GM letter to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, dated July 16 shows that
in 2004, the part number to the redesigned part was not changed.
For the Malibu, Grand Am and Alero, in 2003 a redesigned
part was given a new number, but because the older parts were
marked for use by service technicians, it is possible that they
could have been put into cars brought in for repair, the letter
GM spokesman Alan Adler said on Friday that while older
parts may have been used to fix ignition switches in cars,
"nothing in our data suggests that there is a danger out there."
The Grand Prix, Grand Am, Alero and Malibu were part of a
June 30 GM recall that included 7.6 million cars, most of them
in the United States, for possibly faulty ignition switches.
DeGiorgio was one of the 15 GM employees pushed out of the
company since this year's safety crisis began.
The Grand Prix affected are model years 2004 to 2008, the
Malibu 1997 to 2005, the Grand Am 1999 to 2005 and the Alero
1999 to 2004.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)