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GM allegedly pressured supplier to continue to manufacture faulty ignition switch

Posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014   

A recently released email suggests that GM urged their supplier, Delphi, to continue to produce ignition switches for their vehicles even after they continued to fail safety testing, according to a report in the New York Times on November 21.

The email was entered as evidence in the multidistrict lawsuit filed against GM in New York. The ignition switch has been identified as the cause of 33 deaths and many more injuries in crashes involving Chevy Cobalts and Saturn Ions in the early 2000s. Simply bumping the ignition has been found to cause the vehicles to stall, but the recent email also revealed that deficient levels of electrical current may have also contributed to the problem. When reports of accidents began stacking up, Raymond DeGiorgio, the GM engineer who approved the switch design in 2001, demanded more stringent safety testing from Delphi.

However, a 2005 email from Thomas Svoboda, the customer specialist at Delphi assigned to the case, accuses DeGiorgio of ordering the tests only to “cover his butt,” knowing that it would fail. Svoboda also expresses frustration with Delphi, saying that they should have refused business with GM, one of their largest accounts, instead of being bullied into “spending hundreds or thousands of hours trying to make it work” even though both sides knew the switch “was never able to cut it.”

DeGiorgio denies these allegations, saying, “I did my job the best I could.”

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