NHTSA Knew Warranty Claims on Cobalt’s Airbags Four Times Higher Than Peers

Bloomberg News reports that a NHTSA investigator found in 2007 that airbag warranty claims were four times higher for the Chevrolet Cobalt in 2006 than they were for its competitor’s cars. Bloomberg also notes that NHTSA received complaints about 25 crashes resulting in injuries and four resulting in fatalities involving air bag failures in the Cobalt with model years between 2003 and 2006. Bloomberg reports that a review group at NHTSA determined that there “wasn’t enough of a pattern to open a formal probe.” Bloomberg also features an except from an email from Frank Borris, the head of NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation, to Carmen Benavides, GM’s director of product investigations, that says that “the general perception is that GM is slow to communicate, slow to act, and, at times, requires additional effort of ODI that we do not feel is necessary with some of your peers.”

The APThe Hill, and the Detroit Bureau also reported the departures at GM.

The Detroit (MI) News reports that the relationship between GM and Delphi, the supplier who produced the faulty ignition switches, was “among the worst in the history of the automobile industry.” John Henke, the president of Planning Perspectives Inc., says that Delphi engineers “didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning” if they were working with GM during the time when the faulty ignition switches were being produced. Henke notes that GM was so adamant that its suppliers cut costs that GM was accepting parts that did not meet its specifications.

From the American Association for Justice news release.

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