Thursday, June 5, 2014

GM to release Valukas report on Thursday.

In continuing coverage of GM’s faulty ignition switch scandal, the CBS Evening News (6/4, story 7, 2:15, Dubois, 5.08M) reports that GM will release the results of its internal investigation into its response to its faulty ignition switches that have been linked to at least 13 deaths. CBS also reports that GM CEO Mary Barra will inform GM employees of the findings on Thursday morning and then meet with reporters. CBS spends most of its report interviewing the families of those who lost people due to the defects, including Candice Anderson who was convicted of a felony after a crash later found to be related to the faulty ignition switches. CBS News (6/5, Glor, 5.21M) also reported the story on its website.
        The New York (NY) Times (6/5, Ivory, Subscription Publication, 9.65M) reports that in creating the report, former US attorney Anton Valukas looked into GM’s engineering, legal, product investigations and regulatory affairs departments; GM has said that all four of those departments “knew in some form of the defective switch.” The Times notes that GM still has to deal with investigations conducted by both chambers of Congress, the Justice Department, and “a group of state attorneys general.”
        The Detroit (MI) News (6/5, Shepardson, 643K) reports that GM gave the report to NHTSA on Wednesday. The News reports that currently, there has been no evidence presented that any senior executives at GM were aware of the defects “until just before GM ordered a recall in early February.” The News notes that there has been some skepticism of GM using Valukas to conduct the investigation since he has represented GM in the past “when the SEC investigated accounting errors at GM and the automaker was forced to repeatedly restate its financial results.” Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer said that the report “needs to come off as genuine, not as a GM-sponsored version of what happened, but what really happened.” A second Detroit (MI) News (6/5, Shepardson, 643K) article reports that GM and NHTSA turned over hundreds of thousand more pages of documents to House Energy and Commerce committee over the last two months.
        The Los Angeles (CA) Times (6/5, Hirsch, 3.46M) reports that the Center for Auto Safety’s executive director Clarence Ditlow said that the report “has to explain what triggered the change, and why didn’t they change the part number,” and that a failure to do so “makes the move look like a cover-up.” Ditlow says that the part change may have hindered NHTSA’s investigation as it would have caused the number of complaints to decline; he said “Changing the part without changing the part number was an effort to deceive NHTSA.”

        Similar coverage was provided by Bloomberg News (6/5, Higgins, Plungis, Green, 2.76M). 

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