GM creates new post to spearhead safety issues - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

GM creates new post to spearhead safety issues

Posted: Updated:
© MGN Online © MGN Online

DETROIT (KNOE 8 News/AP) - General Motors has named a 40-year engineer as its new safety chief, placing a single person in charge of recalls and other safety issues as it deals with a huge compact car recall that has damaged the company's reputation.

The move, announced Tuesday by CEO Mary Barra, comes after revelations that GM knew about a deadly ignition switch problem in 1.6 million compact cars at least 11 years ago, but failed to recall them until last month. The problem has been linked to more than a dozen deaths in the Chevrolet Cobalt and five other models.

Barra on Tuesday named engineer Jeff Boyer to the new global post. She says it gives GM a single safety leader with access to senior managers and the board. Boyer is responsible for development of safety systems, vehicle testing, and safety of cars after they are sold, including recalls.

"If there are any obstacles in his way, Jeff has the authority to clear them," Barra said in a statement. "If he needs any additional resources, he will get them."

Two congressional committees and the Justice Department are investigating GM's behavior in the ignition switch case. The company has admitted knowing as early as 2003 that the switches can unexpectedly shut down car engines and cause drivers to lose control. Despite multiple company investigations, the cars were not recalled until last month. In one of the investigations that didn't lead to a recall, GM failed to consider four fatal accidents in one of the models.

"Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened," Barra said Monday in a video posted on GM's media website.

On Feb. 13, GM announced the recall of more than 780,000 Cobalts and Pontiac G5s (model years 2005-2007). Two weeks later it added 842,000 Ion compacts (2003-2007), and Chevrolet HHR SUVs and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars (2006-2007). All of the recalled cars have the same ignition switches.

The company said the ignition switches can wear from heavy, dangling keys. If the key chains are bumped or people drive on rough surfaces, the switches can suddenly change from the "run" position to "accessory" or "off." That cuts off power-assisted steering and brakes and could cause drivers to lose control. Also, the air bags may not inflate in a crash and protect the driver and passengers.

The company is urging people not to put anything on their key rings until the switches are replaced.

The recall crisis quickly ended Barra's honeymoon as CEO. She took over the top job on Jan. 15, becoming the first woman to lead a major global automaker.

Since 2011, Boyer had been executive director of engineering operations and systems development. Before that, he headed global interior engineering and safety performance. In that post, he was responsible for certifying GM vehicle safety and crashworthiness, the company said.

Boyer started with GM in 1974 as a college student at Kettering University in Flint. He has an electrical engineering degree from Kettering and a master of business administration degree from Michigan State University.

On Monday, GM issued new recalls of 1.5 million vehicles, part of an effort to assure buyers that it's moving faster to fix safety defects in its cars and trucks.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • A look at some new laws that take effect Friday

    A look at some new laws that take effect Friday

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:47:08 GMT
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Hundreds of new laws take effect Friday, with the start of August.
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Hundreds of new laws take effect Friday, with the start of August.
  • Island overrun by hundreds of cats

    Island overrun by hundreds of cats

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:25 AM EDT2014-07-31 14:25:47 GMT
    NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (AP) - A small island near Buffalo has a big cat problem thanks to people who have abandoned felines there over the years.
    NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (AP) - A small island near Buffalo has a big cat problem thanks to people who have abandoned felines there over the years.
  • Monroe women robbed while sitting in parked car

    Monroe women robbed while sitting in parked car

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:53 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:53:01 GMT
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News MPD) - Police are seeking a suspect who pulled a gun on two women parked at a Monroe convenience store.
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News MPD) - Police are seeking a suspect who pulled a gun on two women parked at a Monroe convenience store.
  • 2014 Motor Vehicle Law Amendments to affect Louisiana drivers

    2014 Motor Vehicle Law Amendments to affect Louisiana drivers

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:46 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:46:42 GMT
    BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News LSP) -Beginning August 1st, Friday, numerous laws and amendments passed during the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session will affect motorists throughout the state.
    BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News LSP) -Beginning August 1st, Friday, numerous laws and amendments passed during the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session will affect motorists throughout the state.
  • Man attempts suicide in courtroom

    Man attempts suicide in courtroom

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:46 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:46:31 GMT
    APNewsNow. ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (AP) - Prosecutors say a man who was found guilty in a St. Martinville courtroom of five counts of aggravated incest attempted suicide in the courtroom.
    APNewsNow. ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (AP) - Prosecutors say a man who was found guilty in a St. Martinville courtroom of five counts of aggravated incest attempted suicide in the courtroom.
  • Downed Power Line Near Target

    Downed Power Line Near Target

    Friday, August 1 2014 8:22 AM EDT2014-08-01 12:22:02 GMT
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 NEWS) - Power line down across the road. 
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 NEWS) - Power line down across the road. 
  • 16 thousand bras hang from Vicksburg's Old Mississippi River Bridge

    16 thousand bras hang from Vicksburg's Old Mississippi River Bridge

    Thursday, November 1 2012 7:11 PM EDT2012-11-01 23:11:14 GMT
    VICKSBURG, MS. (KNOE 8 News)- Over 16 thousand bras of every size shape and color lined the entire span of the Mississippi River bridge at Vicksburg.
    VICKSBURG, MS. (KNOE 8 News)- Over 16 thousand bras of every size shape and color lined the entire span of the Mississippi River bridge at Vicksburg.
  • 28 Monroe area businesses cited for selling to minors

    28 Monroe area businesses cited for selling to minors

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:51:09 GMT
    Baton Rouge, La. (KNOE 8 News ATC) - Agents with the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control recently conducted compliance checks at 173 businesses in the Monroe and West Monroe areas. During those compliance checks, 28 of the businesses, which consist of area restaurants, bars and convenience stores, were caught selling alcohol and tobacco products to minors.
    Baton Rouge, La. (KNOE 8 News ATC) - Agents with the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control recently conducted compliance checks at 173 businesses in the Monroe and West Monroe areas. During those compliance checks, 28 of the businesses, which consist of area restaurants, bars and convenience stores, were caught selling alcohol and tobacco products to minors.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KNOE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.