GM chief creates new team to boost safety

April 17, 2014 - 12:27:36 am

NEW YORK: General Motors chief executive Mary Barra announced the creation of a new team to enhance safety in the wake of an ignition-recall scandal that has engulfed the company.

Barra said the new product-integrity team aimed to ensure that future technical problems are addressed and resolved quickly. The carmaker has come in for heavy criticism over its response to the ignition-switch problem, which has been tied to 13 deaths.

The new product-integrity team will be part of the global product development organisation headed by Mark Reuss and will include Jeff Boyer, who was tapped in March to serve as head of global vehicle safety in another response to the recall.

“This new way of developing vehicles will provide the highest levels of safety, quality and customer service and ensure that a situation like the ignition-switch recall doesn’t happen again,” Barra said.

She said part of the goal of the new unit will be to ensure strong safety as cars employ ever-more sophisticated electrical systems. The US’ largest carmaker wants to have a “very streamlined” approach to future recalls.

Barra’s comments came during a question-and-answer session at an industry conference hosted by JD Power and the National Auto Dealers Association and mark her first public appearance since a pair of bruising hearings on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers say the automaker’s slow response to the crisis suggest a “culture of cover-up” and are likely criminal. The Department of Justice has launched a probe of the matter. The faulty ignitions can abruptly switch into “accessory” or “off” position while in drive, especially when the car is jolted. AFP