Barra badmouthing General Motors cars
Before becoming CEO Mary Barra made the statement that General Motors would no longer make crappy cars. The planet registered a loss of oxygen as Auto industry insiders gasped at the thought that an executive would bad-mouth their own product. Apparently, that was only the first coming of Barra and the world should have taken notice. The woman is not backing down in the face of criminal investigations, lawsuit’s or Congress, which is acting like a deity calling their sinners home to flagellate them in front of the world when this could have been taken care of back in 2007 when NHTSA and GM had their first meeting over the ignition complaint.
“Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened,” she told employees in a video message posted on the media site for General Motors.
For all the naysayers that thought Barra was over her head as the first woman CEO of an automotive car company there should be no doubt, this chief executive is in a race for her company’s reputation and she is standing front and center at the helm of a quivering ship. The way this recall is handled is as important to the future of General Motors as the recall of all of Tylenol products were to the Tylenol Company.
The other four CEOs, Wagoner, Henderson, Whitacre, and Akerson, before her must have known about this problem as NHTSA says it first addressed the issue with General Motors in 2007. It would have been early for Wagoner and Henderson was a blip on the CEO radar. Both summarily let go during bankruptcy days. Whitacre left before General Motors brought out it’s IPO. Akerson resigned from General Motors on January 14th, 2014 handing the reigns to Mary Barra, two months before the recall exploded.
Contrite, bordering on Catholic, you get the feeling Barra would recall every car she found to have a problem, showing that she is changing the way General Motors handles defects and recalls. GM has recalled more than 3.1 million vehicles and will take a $300 million charge in the first quarter to cover the costs of the recall and presumably litigation. In a meeting with the press today, in Detroit, MI Barra said she has created a new global vehicle safety position and promoted Jeff Boyer, an engineering executive to run it.
Barra isn’t kicking the can down the road. In the video, she warns, “We are conducting an intense review of our internal processes and will have more developments to announce as we move forward.” That statement sounds like she may not be through recalling vehicles. Get it all out in the open now, I say, a baptism by fire. Cleanse thy soul.
This massive recall will take time to implement. According to GM, Delphi Automotive will add a second production line for replacement parts. Even then, it won’t be until April that customers will be notified of how the implementation of the recall will be handled on their vehicle.
The question asked the most is why GM took so long to address a problem it said first came to its attention in 2001 and had an internal fix proposed to the executives in 2004. One has to wonder if the problem was being fixed behind closed doors in negotiations and how much Akerson knew before he left. In a Bloomberg piece today Mary Barra said: “first learned about an analysis of the stalling cars in December, weeks before she becomes CEO, and that she was informed of the decision to recall cars on Jan. 31.” That was two weeks after she was CEO.
By all appearances, Mary Barra isn’t going to try to negotiate or quiet the problem. Maybe this is the best way to show GMs employees, and the public, that there is a new GM in town.
Barra is giving GM it’s backbone back. She is not cowering or negotiating, she is not bowing her head and letting GM be called Government Motors. She’s doing what needs to be done to take care of the long-term reputation of a company that she believes in.
It worked for Tylenol and it looks like Barra is taking a couple of pages out of Tylenol playbook. Shes probably also taking a couple of Tylenol.
No matter what country you live in, if you own one of these vehicles you should contact your car dealer to see if it has been recalled:
2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
2003-2007 Saturn Ion
some 2008-2009 and all 2010-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia crossovers
some 2009 and all 2010-2013 Chevrolet Traverses
some 2008-2009 and all 2010 Saturn Outlooks
303,000 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans
vans from model years 2009 through 2014 that are rated to carry up to 10,000 pounds including the vehicle’s own weight
2013 and 2014 Cadillac XTS
Porsche recalls 2014 911 GT3 engines because they catch on fire
Sports car manufacturer Porsche will be replacing the engines of all 2014 model year 911 GT3 vehicles. This is the corrective action derived from intensive internal analyses that were initiated in response to two engine fires. Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that engine damage resulted from a loosened fastener on the connecting rod. The loose connecting rod damaged the crankcase, which in both cases led to the leakage of oil which then ignited.
After becoming aware of the two accident cases, Porsche promptly took action to avoid any risk to customers by advising them to cease using the affected 785 vehicles until further notice and have them picked up by a Porsche dealer. Now, engines with optimized fasteners will be used in all 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 “ including in those that have not been delivered yet. Porsche is in direct communication with customers worldwide to discuss the further course of action.