General Motors placed an urgent order for 500,000 replacement ignition switches for some of its small cars nearly two months before notifying the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the company’s ignition switch recall plans, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper cites e-mail sent between a GM contract worker and GM’s ignition switch supplier, Delphi Automotive. GM placed the order in the middle of December of 2013, while an ignition switch recall was announced later on Feb. 7. The time gap between the major replacement parts order and NHTSA notification isn’t addressed in the 315-page Valukas report, the newspaper notes.
In response to the Wall Street Journal article, GM released a statement: “These emails are further confirmation that our system needed reform, and we have done so. We have reorganized our entire safety investigation and decision process and have more investigators, move issues more quickly and make decisions with better data.”
The new recall procedure, GM said, can be summed up in three steps:
- A potential issue review with appropriate data to determine whether further investigation is warranted.
- An open investigation review recommends for or against a recall or other field action.
- A group of senior leaders quickly decides whether or not a recall is warranted.
The Wall Street Journal received copies of the e-mail correspondence from Texas attorney Bob Hilliard, who is representing complainants claiming economic loss, death or injury tied to the defective ignition switches. Delphi provided copies of the e-mails to attorneys to comply with a discovery order issued as part of a court case in New York.