Senate Panel Examining Role of GM Legal Department

Panel members will want to know when Delphi found out that the switches began causing fatal crashes, and why the company continued to provide them to GM after knowing about the deaths.


—Q: Should the compensation program be extended to victims of crashes involving cars that GM recalled on June 30 — mainly older, midsize vehicles where ignition keys are the issue rather than switches?

Feinberg has presided over compensation plans for the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and other disasters. He has said GM placed no limit on what it will pay for crashes caused by faulty ignition switches. Victims of the June 30 recalls, affecting 8.2 million cars, can't file claims to the fund.

In the original recall, the ignition switches didn't meet GM's specifications but were used anyway, and they slipped too easily out of the "run" position.

The vehicles recalled last month have switches that do conform to GM's specifications. In these cases, the keys can move the ignition out of position because of jarring, bumps from the driver's knee or the weight of a heavy key chain, GM says. The recalled cars will get replacement keys. The 2.6 million small cars recalled in February are getting new ignitions.


—Q: Do the actions that GM has taken so far appear sufficient to prevent the problem from happening again?

Valukas has acknowledged that his report leaves open some questions, notably whether there was civil and criminal culpability; whether GM will make the right decisions to stop this from happening again; and what specific crashes were caused by the ignition switch problem.

Skepticism from senators over Valukas's "lone engineer" finding can be expected to be thick.


AP Auto Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report.

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