Everything You Need to Know About the GM Ignition Scandal

Karma kills in the auto industry, people — it’s been seen a million times, and when you consider nearly a century ago GM got vicious with a scandal sending the monumental Chrysler Airflow to its grave, turnabout’s fair play as this GM ignition scandal could potentially make Volkswagen quiver in its boots over the current emissions scandal the German automaker’s facing. What happened to GM almost a decade ago? Very simply put, General Motors wasn’t careful, and the GM ignition scandal hit them hard.

The Gist of the GM Ignition Scandal

It was back in 2007 when Chevrolet ended up having to recall 98K vehicles for failing to meet federal safety standards. Nothing too serious, though. It’s when you get to the millions when the auto industry essentially says you’re screwed, and GM was far from that.Gm ignition scandal-1

However, in 2010, a faulty power steering system caused the recall of 1.3MM vehicles. Without a doubt, GM was feeling the heat. Their recall numbers hit well above the million range, but would you believe that even that wasn’t enough poison? Try this:

The Chevy Cobalt could’ve easily buried the company if it wasn’t for some coughing up the costs and potentially contributing to the bankruptcy of one of America’s most prolific automakers. The Chevy Cobalt was infamous for the GM ignition scandal due to a faulty ignition switch. How important is this switch? Well, it only ensures that the car stays on. If something’s wrong with that switch, your car could easily just shut down while driving, deactivating your safety systems like the airbag and anti-lock brakes. You can see where we’re going with this….

Of course, like with all other scandals, the automaker knew about this GM ignition scandal way back in 2004, surmising that the cost completely outweighed the effort to remedy it. Big mistake. Although in 2006, GM finally decided to eat their own words and fix the situation resulting in 13 deaths, issuing out a 2.6MM recall of the Cobalt as well as the Pontiac G5.

Sadly, GM also faced a $10BB civil suit, a lawsuit they were able to ‘dodge’ to some degree due to the fact that the “old” bankrupt GM before the corporation restructured should be held responsible. Smart tactic.

Still, It’ll Be a Long Road for General Motors

Old GM or new doesn’t matter. History says a lot about lost money, lives and defective auto parts. Perhaps they should’ve been a little nicer to the Chrysler Airflow all those years back!

Everything You Need to Know About the 1960s Chevy Scandal

Not one worker for Chevrolet back in the day of the late ’60s felt blessed to work in the factory when this Chevy scandal hit the fan like feces and caused a massive chain reaction — much like the chain reaction set off by Chevrolet engine mounts — that sent ripples through the auto industry. Pretty bad issue, actually, but thankfully we’re still seeing those Chevys driving around today….

It Wasn’t so Easy Back Then Because of the Chevy Scandal

So what was the whole hoopla about? Well, those engine mounts were the problem. They Chevy Scandal-1were defective. An NHTSA report shed some light on the issue, referring to General Motors about some more data, and the information wasn’t exactly pleasant — 172 reports of failed motor mounts, which resulted in 63 accidents and 18 injuries. Now that wasn’t even the Chevy scandal that would mess with your head….

It turned out that GM — and the NHTSA — actually went hush-hush on the issue for almost three years before coming out with the report and making it known to the public. In a nutshell, they risked more accidents occurring as a result of these defective engine mounts. Not smart.

Why were those engine mounts so defective? Basically, at the high speed, those mounts would torque out of position and throw the entire throttle body out of sync, causing even more acceleration — unintended acceleration. GM, in fact, discovered that those same defective engine mounts had been installed in Chevys for over a decade, forcing the discussion for that legitimate safety concern that’s so prevalent in today’s auto industry, what with auto insurance and roadside assistance major factors.

What Did Gm Do About This Chevy Scandal? It’s Simple….

The automaker recalled an alarming 6.5MM of those vehicles, fixing the issue promptly. Smart move. And it saved GM from disaster. Take notes, Volkswagen. This is how you handle a problem.


Everything You Need to Know About the Chrysler Airflow

When it comes to auto scandals like what we’ve seen with Volkswagen, this story may be just about the dirtiest of them all, because it does involve a major automotive giant still existing today, albeit the most recent financial troubles: General Motors. Back in the day, GM was king — until another energetic upstart of an automaker came out with the rather innovative Chrysler Airflow in 1934, a prototype of sheer cinematic genius way ahead of its time and foreshadowing automotive excellence for many years to come.

Of Course, GM Hated That the Chrysler Airflow Was Getting so Much Attention….

This is where the auto industry can get super-vicious. So what did General Motors do? theyChrysler Airflow-1 bought out advertisements in the Saturday Evening Post, pitching proverbial puke balls at the Chrysler Airflow with allegations of plagiarism due to a “top-secret GM design.” Think of it this way: GM was the big bully kid jealous of the smarty-pants who the girls really liked (but wouldn’t admit it).

Those were the days when auto advertising and competition were so bloodthirsty that it made mixed martial arts look like butt slapping with a wet napkin. Amazingly enough, though, Chrysler wasn’t reeling much at the stab GM made, releasing a newsreel of phenomenal prowess and innovation, showing off the Chrysler Airflow and its advanced suspension by shooting out tires at high speeds. Impressive. The newsreel even featured a pitcher throwing a fastball at a window and not even cracking the glass. Testers even rolled the darn car over and drove it away without a problem; and if that wasn’t enough, they drove the Chrysler Airflow off a 110-foot cliff, and after it landed, testers at the bottom drove the steel beast off into the horizon — all without one dent on the fender or a scratch on the windshield.

You’d Think That Impressive Newsreel Would Make a Difference in This Auto Industry

Sadly, it did not. The Chrysler Airflow was beaten (not by the cliff, obviously) due to the gossip and scare tactics of GM and their successful smear campaign. The car that would’ve made more headlines for years to come was then discontinued due to the bad press and negativity of the supposed “scandal” and was never seen again.

Case in point: you lose in the auto industry if you’re the target of gossip!

Everything You Need to Know About Mary Barra

Aside from the fact that Mrs. Mary Barra is the first female CEO of a major global automaker — a feat all in its own and worthy of being on a list of auto influences for 2015 — you’ve got a professional here who’s so public that we’d be skeptical to find just about anyone who might not have heard of her name in Michigan. She’s the CEO of General Motors, basically — and her aggressive task is to get GM back on the board for the auto industry in terms of competition and quality. She’s doing a pretty good job, actually.

A Breakdown of Mary Barra From the Very BeginningMary Barra

She didn’t just land in that role, though, by randomness, replacing the former CEO back in 2014, and certainly didn’t just blindly accept a featyre with Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Mary Barra did start off small, as many hopeful professionals do, at the age of 18, working for GM as a co-op student in 1980 in quite a few engineering and administrative positions. Her work ethic led her to a management role at the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant, and after becoming VP of Global Manufacturing Engineering in 2008, it was pretty clear that she was destined for even greater accolades.

In 2009, Mary Barra was promoted to VP of Global Human Resources, holding that for two years. She then was named Executive VP of Global Product Development after that. You seeing a trend here? Mary Barra has had her hand dipped in just about every aspect of GM from start to finish, earning her a place in the influences of the auto industry for 2015 without even a second glance.

Design, efficiency, operations, manpower, technology, logistics — you name it. She’s had her hand in it. Needless to say, she became full-on CEO of the entire corporation, and the rest is history as she helmed full public protocol and damage control for an issuance of 84 safety recalls, which included 30MM vehicles. She even presided over the U.S. Senate to testify about such recalls and deaths due to the faulty ignition switch on said automobiles. And she did it all with poise, candor, and professionalism. Without even a flinch.

That Is What We Call a Trendsetter in the Auto Industry

There’s a reason why even Forbes listed her as one of the world’s most powerful women — three times. She, in fact, rose from the 35th spot to the seventh spot in 2013. 2014 was a hallmark year for her with Forbes, and we can only speculate where she’s going to be in terms of global power and influence in the auto selection market for 2015. She’s accomplished all of this because of one thing: she’s not afraid to go public and represent her company with gusto. That takes some major spine in the chassis, we think!