GM Will Pay $35 Million Fine Over Massive Safety Recall
By Bill Chappell
The U.S. Department of Transportation is ordering General Motors to pay a record $35 million civil penalty for its handling of a recall of more than 2 million vehicles for ignition switch problems.
The government says GM violated federal safety laws.
The fine is part of a "consent decree" that's being announced Friday; the agreement also calls for GM to change how it handles review of safety issues.
The substantial fine stems from an investigation into the Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM cars that were found to have problems with their ignition switches. The flaw had the potential to cause airbags to fail to deploy during a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the fine is "the single highest civil penalty amount ever paid as a result of a NHTSA investigation of violations stemming from a recall."
"Safety is our top priority, and today's announcement puts all manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable if they fail to quickly report and address safety-related defects," Transportation Secretary Foxx said in a news release announcing the fine.
Saying the government would continue to "aggressively monitor GM's efforts" to resove the issue, he also called for Congress to raise the limits on how large a fine the government can use to punish businesses. He cited a new law that would make the limit $300 million.
The GM recall includes the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice and 2007-2010 Saturn Sky vehicles.