General Motors CEO faces more questioning before a Senate subcommittee

WASHINGTON, D.C. - General Motors CEO Mary Barra faces more questioning on Capitol Hill today, this time from a Senate subcommittee.

Barra told a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday that the automaker was slow in warning customers about a defective ignition switch that has been responsible for at least 13 deaths.

Just recently, GM has recalled some 2.6 million cars.

That recall prompted GM to name a new safety chief and review its recall processes.

GM continued its efforts to show regulators and consumers that it is more focused on safety, announcing the recall of 1.5 million more vehicles on Monday for a power steering problem.

With Monday's recall, GM has now recalled 6.3 million vehicles since February. GM estimates the actions will cost it $750 million.

At least a dozen family members of victims attended Tuesday's hearing and are expected to also attend Wednesday.

Barra apologized for the loss of life, but tried to limit her answers to Congress, citing an ongoing internal review and government investigations.

"When we have answers, we will be fully transparent with you, with our regulators, and with our customers," she said in the prepared testimony.

That could test the patience of committee members, who will want to know immediately why GM failed to protect its customers in this case.

Laura Christian, birth mother of Amber Marie Rose, a teenager who died in a 2005 Maryland crash involving a Chevrolet Cobalt, said about 30 family members met with Barra and two GM attorneys Monday night.

All got a chance to tell their stories to GM's new CEO, but Christian said they got little reaction. "A lot of, 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry,' " Christian said.

GM would not comment on details of the meeting.

Congress also wants to know if it needs to strengthen a 2000 law intended to improve communication between automakers and the government.


Associated Press writer Marcy Gordon contributed from Washington.

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