GM CEO on the hot seat
(NBC News) – The head of General Motors is in the hot seat on Capitol Hill today and tomorrow testifying about those faulty ignition switches that killed more than a dozen drivers.
And she'll likely face questions about a new recall just announced Monday.
Lawmakers are looking for answers – mainly – why it took so long for GM to go public with a problem it appears they knew about for a decade.
“General Motors will do the right thing,” is what CEO Mary Barra plans to tell Congress today as she testifies here amid a brand new recall involving a sudden loss of power steering.
That brings the total to 6 million GM vehicles now recalled.
Sarah Troutwein's family believes a faulty ignition switch on her Chevy Cobalt led to her death.
NBC has confirmed that Barra met with families last night, apologized, and saw pictures of some of the 13 victims who died.
Today she'll apologize publicly and admit — as she did in this YouTube video – that the company still doesn't know why it took more than a decade to detect the problem. “Clearly the fact that it took over ten years indicates that we have work to do to improve our process,” said GM CEO, Mary Barra.
Congressional staffers have sifted through 200,000 documents including one that shows a GM engineer signed off on a change to fix the switches before testifying that he knew nothing about it. “What we would like to see is for GM to take a step back and instead of trying to just make this switch better, build the safest possible switch on all the vehicles they have out there,” said the Executive Director at the Center for Auto Safety, Clarence Ditlow.
We'll also hear today from the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about what government regulators knew, and when.
NHTSA's chief will testify they've got “serious questions” about why this recall took so long, and could fine GM up to $35 million – on top of lawsuits and the justice department's criminal investigation.