When employees are working on a project, they sometimes do not want the boss involved. His or her involvement may make their jobs harder. However, bosses should definitely have been involved when GM was working on its ignition switches.
Here’s the problem: These defective switches would turn from “on” to “accessory” during driving, turning off the engine. When this happened, it would disable the power steering, the power brakes, and even the airbags. As a result, the driver could not control the car properly, and when he or she crashed, the airbags would be inoperable.
Lives were lost and people were badly injured as a result of this dangerous switch.
GM first learned about the problem with the switch during testing, and even though the problem was reported as fixed, the defect still caused wrecks in future Saturn Ion models. Many suspect corporate culture was to blame for the shoddy fix. The company was known for hiring top notch employees, but the communication structure may have kept the best or right people out of the loop.
By the time engineers finally recognized the problem, there were already many cars on the road with the bad switches. The defect was swept under the rug, even though replacing the switch was a quick and inexpensive repair. The refusal to announce the problem to the public cost lives, injured people badly, and damaged GM’s reputation unnecessarily.
For those of us who have been around awhile, the problem is reminiscent of the Ford Pinto debacle of the 1970s. Ford knew that the Pinto’s fuel tank was in a dangerous, inadequately protected location, but after conducting a cost-benefit analysis, it decided to keep the tank where it was—vulnerable to rear-end collisions and fires.
As both the Pinto and GM scandals show, it’s better to own up to our mistakes, especially when something as precious as life is at stake.
Defective products can be deadly. If you or someone you know suffered a serious injury due to a defective vehicle, please contact Alexander Law Group, LLP immediately to discuss your rights. Call 888.777.1776 right now, for a free, confidential, and personal consultation with one of our attorneys or contact us online.