CEO says GM too slow on ignition switch recall

DETROIT -- General Motors CEO Mary Barra said the automaker didn't move fast enough on the ignition switch fault that triggered the recall of 1.62 million cars worldwide and is blamed for 12 deaths in 31 crashes.

"Clearly this took too long," she said in a group interview at GM headquarters here Tuesday.

"We will fix our process," she vowed so that it doesn't take a decade or more to fix the next potentially deadly fault.

But she wouldn't promise to accept responsibility for accidents that happened before GM went through government-backed bankruptcy reorganization in 2009, nor to set up a victims' fund.

"Right now our focus is on the customers 100%" to "make sure we repair every single one of these vehicles."

However, she said, "After the (GM internal) investigation we will do what's right."

She and Mark Reuss, who replaced Barra as GM's head of global products, met with reporters to give GM's analysis of the details and battle what the executives suggested was incomplete reporting on the recall.

"No one (has been) disciplined or fired at this time," she said, as a result of foul-ups dating back to 2001 when a problem with ignition keys first was reported.

Barra and Reuss both said they've heard of dealers who refuse to provide loaner cars or rentals to owners of the recalled cars. Ruess emphasized that GM is paying for the loaners and rentals and dealers are expected to provide them.

Barra promised to make it happen.

She also said GM has added dozens of phone workers to make sure owners with questions about the recall or loaner cars can get through promptly.


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