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GM vice president knew about ignition switch defect

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Doug Park, GM's Vice President of Global Product Programs and former chief engineer of the Chevrolet Cobalt, found out about 10 years ago that an ignition switch defect in certain vehicles could prevent the airbags from deploying in a crash, according to internal documents released by the U.S. Congress on Thursday.

In an email sent on June 27th, 2005, another chief engineer for the Cobalt, Ray DeGiorgio, said he had talked to Parks about the faulty ignition switch.

"Here is an update of our review w/Doug at Milford," DeGiorgio told another GM employee in the email titled "UPDATE: GMX001 Ignition Cylinder Changes - Unintentional Turning Off Engine."

Earlier this year, GM recalled 2.6 million Cobalts, Saturn IONs and Skys, as well as Pontiac Solstices and G5s manufactured from 2003-2011 — nearly a decade after said defect had been discovered and resulted in at least 13 deaths and 54 accidents.

So far, GM has fired 15 employees, mostly engineers and company attorneys, while five others are facing disciplinary actions. A number of investigations are still underway, too.

An internal GM investigation exonerated the leadership in early June, concluding that management was only made aware of the mechanical problem in December 2013.

Source: AFP