Attorney General Pam Bondi, 48 other state attorneys general and the District of Columbia today announced a $120 million consumer protection settlement with General Motors Company regarding allegations that GM concealed safety issues related to ignition-switch-related defects in GM vehicles. The settlement concludes a multistate investigation into the auto manufacturer’s failure to timely disclose known safety defects in several models of GM vehicles.
In 2014, GM issued seven vehicle recalls in response to unintended key-rotation-related and ignition-switch-related issues that affected more than nine million vehicles in the United States. The recalls involved a defective ignition switch that, under certain conditions, could move out of the run position to the accessory or off position. If this occurred, the driver experienced a loss of electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes. If a collision occurred while the ignition switch was in the accessory or off position, the vehicle’s safety airbags may have also fail to deploy, increasing the risk of serious injury or death in certain types of crashes in which the airbag was otherwise designed to deploy.
Certain employees of GM and General Motors Corporation, which went through bankruptcy in 2009, allegedly knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect because it could cause airbag non-deployment. Despite this knowledge, GM personnel decided the defect was not a safety concern and delayed making recalls. GM continued to market the reliability and safety of motor vehicles equipped with this defective ignition switch.
As part of a consent judgment, GM will:
- Not represent that a motor vehicle is safe unless GM complied with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards applicable to the motor vehicles;
- Not represent that certified pre-owned vehicles are safe, repaired for safety issues or have been subject to rigorous inspection, unless such vehicles are not subject to any open recalls relating to safety or have been repaired pursuant to such a recall;
- Instruct dealers that all applicable recall repairs must be completed before any GM motor vehicle sold in the U.S. and included in a recall is eligible for certification; and
- If there is a recall on any certified pre-owned vehicle sold in the U.S., the required repair must be completed before the vehicle is delivered to a customer.
As part of the consumer protection settlement, GM also agreed to pay the participating attorneys general a total of $120 Million, of which Florida’s share is more than $6 million.The settlement is pending judicial approval.
To view a copy of the settlement, click here.