GM CEO Mary Barra testified this afternoon before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee investigating the automaker's recall of more than 2.5 million vehicles worldwide for faulty ignition switches that have been blamed in at least 31 crashes and 13 deaths. House committee members took turns grilling Barra with questions focusing heavily on when it came to the automaker's attention that faulty switches had been used in the 2003-10 Saturn Ion and 2007-10 Sky, the 2006-10 Pontiac Solstice and 2005-10 G5, and the 2006-11 Chevrolet HHR and 2005-07 Cobalt, and why after repeated complaints and defect discoveries in subsequent years the faulty ignition switches continued to be used. Panel members also attempted to get to the bottom of how numerous communication breakdowns between GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had occurred.
After reiterating in her opening statement her earlier apology to the victims of the ignition switch problem and their families, Barra repeatedly responded to subcommittee members' questions by saying she would have answers only after GM completed its ongoing internal investigation. One new piece of information Barra did report to House members was that GM has hired lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who has overseen the victim-compensation process after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the BP oil spill and the Boston Marathon bombing.