Source: USA Today by James R. Healey
Another 400 are applying to the GM victims' compensation fund administered by compensation specialist Kenneth Feinberg, a lawyer hired by GM to independently run the fund. If people among the 400 aren't satisfied with the settlement the fund offers, they are expected to join the Hilliard lawsuit.
[A replacement ignition switch being installed in about 2 million U.S. vehicles that could have defective parts. The switch fault is linked to 32 deaths. (Photo: Patrick Smith, for USA TODAY)]
Hilliard calls the newly public emails "the single most explosive piece of evidence" that GM wasn't as aggressive as it should have been in warning owners about the dangerous switches. They can inadvertently move out of the "run" position and shut off the engine. That kills power assist to the steering and brakes, making cars harder to control. And it can disable airbags.
Here are excerpts from some key emails in the GM-Delphi exchange:
Menlo Worldwide Logistics' Sarah Missentzis, representing GM, to Delphi's Lisa Augustine, Dec. 18, 2013:
"Per the voicemail I just left you, I am looking for a build and ship plan for a large volume of this part to support an urgent field action for our customers. I will need to secure a total of 500,000...."
Delphi's Augustine to GM's Missentzis, Dec. 19, 2013:
"...this would be a huge increase in production for us. Please advise if this would be a firm order."
Delphi account manager Anthony Simonton to Delphi colleague Susan Dowling, Dec. 20, 2013:
"...I can't believe they would enter anything for a high-volume field fix/campaign before discussing the issue with the supplier...."
Dowling to seven others at Delphi:
"...Not our issue, but part of the solution. I don't know why we are just finding out about this, but the potential revenue is significant. Current price is around $5 and they are thinking they will need upwards of 500,000 units, possibly more.
"They will take units at any time...."
Missentzis at GM to Dowling at Delphi, Jan. 7, 2014:
"...It involves 709,000 (model year 2005-2007) Cobalt/Pursuit/G5 vehicles."
Missentzis at GM to Dowling at Delphi, Jan. 15, 2014:
"I left you another message. Please get back with me today with your ship plan. Please understand that we have to be able to provide timing and see what we can do to improve it. Delphi was notified of this urgent issue before Christmas and I have yet to see a plan.
"Please get me something by 4 pm today!!"
Christine Witt, GM customer care, to Dowling, Delphi, Feb. 13, 2014:
"This 'Safety' issue was reported to NHTSA today. GM now has 60 days to notify all involved vehicle owners. this takes us to around April 8. (when we will only have about 50,000 pcs from Delphi) There are a total of 778,562 involved...."
NHTSA is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On Feb. 25, GM announced the worldwide recall of 1.62 million 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 and Pursuit, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice, 2007 Pontiac Sky, Opel/Vauxhall GT, Daewoo G2X.
Nearly 1.37 million were in the U.S.
GM's latest count: 1,96 million U.S. cars ultimately are involved in the switch recall, once scrapped cars were identified. Of those, 54.9% had been repaired as of late last week.
Hilliard claims that at least 85 persons were hurt and one killed in GM crashes involving the faulty switches in the time between GM ordering the big supply of replacement switches and when the recall finally took place.