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GM slapped with $35 million fine for faulty ignition switches

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The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that General Motors has agreed to pay a record $35 million civil penalty for its failure to report an ignition switch defect in a timely manner. The defect resulted in the non-deployment of airbags in certain Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM models.

Overall, there have been more than 30 related accidents and 13 casualties.

The $35 million penalty is the maximum for violating federal safety laws. In case you didn't know, automakers in the U.S. are required to notify the NHTSA within five business days of determining that a recall-worthy defect exists. GM took several years to do so.

The former world No. 1 seller has also agreed to provide the NHTSA with full access to the results of its internal investigation into this recall to take steps to ensure its employees report safety-related concerns to management, and to speed up the process for GM to decide whether to recall vehicles.

Moreover, GM will be required to notify the NHTSA of changes to its schedule for completing production of repair parts by October 4th, 2014. GM must also take steps to maximize the number of vehicle owners who bring in their vehicles for repair, including targeted outreach to non-English speakers, maintaining up-to-date information on its website, and engaging with vehicle owners through the media.

“We have learned a great deal from this recall. We will now focus on the goal of becoming an industry leader in safety,” said GM CEO Mary Barra. “We will emerge from this situation a stronger company.”

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