General Motors is now facing a crisis over its inaction with regards to important safety recalls over the past decade.
Last week GM CEO Mary Barra testified before a U.S. congressional subcommittee hearing on the company's ignition switch recall. The recall involves numerous GM models with a defect that could shut the engine off while in operation. At least 13 people have died in crashes related to the defect. The defect was originally identified by GM in 2005 but a recall was not issued until just this year.
Now, according to a Los Angeles Times report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is fining GM daily over the company's failure to answer questions about the recall.
On March 4 he NHTSA had reportedly given GM until April 3 to respond to 107 questions regarding the ignition switch recall. According to the LA Times report the questions cover everything from specifics about the defect to consumer complaints and why GM did not issue a recall sooner. The company did respond to some of the questions, but has not answered all of them.
The NHTSA is fining GM $7,000 per day that its full request for documentation goes unanswered. The fines could eventually max out at $35 million.
The NHTSA has sent a letter to GM making it clear that it believes the company has only partially complied with the order. The letter also states that GM has deflected important questions posed by the agency. The NHTSA has stated that it may also involve the U.S. Justice Department to force GM to turn over documents.
For GM's part, the company claims that it is fully cooperating with the investigation. GM has stated that it has already provided over 21,000 documents to the NHTSA. The company claims that it will quickly hand over documentation as it becomes available.
In addition to the ignition switch recall, GM last week recalled more than 1.3 million Chevy, Saturn, and Pontiac vehicles. That recall involved a defect that could sudden loss of power steering.