Murphy Wants Answers on Why GM Approved Ignition Switch

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 11:19 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Rep. Tim Murphy wants answers from General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra about why the company approved an ignition switch that didn't meet specifications, an issue connected to the deaths of 13 people.

"There was a decision made about a decade ago that, despite this ignition switch not meeting specifications, they went ahead and approved it anyway," the Pennsylvania Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Tuesday.

"I want to know why. What was taking place at General Motors to allow them to accept a part that they didn't even say was appropriate?" he asked.

Murphy sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where Barra is set to testify Tuesday about the issue. Though Barra has been at the helm of GM only since January, she has worked at the automotive giant since 1980.

Barra offered an apology in a taped statement to those affected by the problem. She said, "Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened." She said the apology was "one step in the journey to resolve this."

Company documents from 2005 explain there were questions about "how the decision was made" to ignore ignition switch problems, which may have been apparent as early as 2001. Specifically, Murphy said he wanted to know "what was taking place within GM that had that culture where they didn't handle these things right."

"What I'm interested in this whole process is what was going on at General Motors at the time," Murphy said.

GM ultimately recalled nearly 3 million cars because of the problem. Murphy said government regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also bore responsibility for their lack of adequate safety oversight.

"We need to find what was going on [with NHTSA] as well, where they failed to protect the public safety," he said.


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