I was thinking of writing today about the “Auto 2014” Car show that is in Riga today for the last day. I was expecting it to be marvelous, gigantic, spectacular, full of different brands, chance to have a seat in each of the cars (as they promised it to be on ads on internet and radio)…but I was utterly disappointed by it. Not only I didn’t have a chance to have a seat in any of the cars, there weren’t many of them. Apart from Fiat-Chrysler group cars (including the Ghibli), the new Mini Cooper S (which I do like), couple of Golfs, and Mercedes, there were just dull brands there – Nissan/Renault, Peugeot, [falling asleep at this point already] Hyundai, KIA……and GM cars – couple of Chevys, Cadillacs and Opel (Vauxhall, for the British audience, Buick for American readers). And today I would like to talk more about this disastrous, pathetic Detroit cash cow.
Turn Me On: GM’s Ignition Switch Fiasco
After recent developments in that dirty car company I have decided to turn my back completely against all GM’s product line up because their attitude regarding the recent problem has been sickening. I am talking about the 2.6 MILLION (!!!) car recall regarding a small mechanical fault in the ignition switch mechanism that turns GM cars from way of transport to high speed coffins. And because of their reaction and ways to solving the problem, this big bankrupting organization deserves to collapse.
The problem in the ignition switch mechanism is a tiny spring plunger in the mechanism that is too short [in the picture above, the higher plunger is the faulty one]. Because of that, the whole mechanism is more fragile, i.e. it doesn’t get firmly fixed in its position. Because of this, the ignition can freely switch from “Run” to “Accessory” position, when a car key has a heavy key chain and it drives on an uneven surface, causing the keys to swing about, hence, turning the ignition key. Because of this, when the ignition is turned to “Accessory” position, the engine stops, turning off power steering, power brakes and airbags. This has resulted in 12 reported deaths linked to the accident (no one knows the actual number of injuries and deaths. Maybe GM hides it).
The problem was first reported in 2001 but only until now there were no measures taken to do anything about it. GM just kept on putting these defective ignition switches in and producing these cars with defects like crazy. The most ridiculous part of the story starts after the new CEO, Mary Barra, takes charge of this evil organization.
It turns out that Barra found out about this all defect scam during her training for her CEO position, i.e. JANUARY OF THIS YEAR! The woman has been working in the company since age of 18 and gone through all these ranks to find about this 2.6 million car affecting deadly problem only when she takes charge of all that darn company? Also, GM as an organization denies any involvement with this problem, because they say it was the problem of the “Old GM”, and after the 2008 bail out they are the “New GM”. WHAT?! A turd covered with a blanked for no one to see it is still a turd. It doesn’t change anything.
Here’s the “fun” part – recalls. Guess what was the first suggestion from GM regarding this problem? “Take to the dealers?” No. “Avoid driving and call an evacuator truck?” Wrong again. The first suggestion was “Use less heavy key chains when driving.” Which is ridiculous, because the fault can still occur without a key chain, from heavy vibrations from the road (like hitting a pothole). The next absolutely ridiculous mistake they made was when actually changing these ignition switches. They changed the defective ones…to fresh ones with the same problem. ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!
It is no question that GM’s reputation is forever damaged with this…well…when I say “damaged”, I mean “more damaged than it was before”. I mean it had some wonderful brands in its control – Pontiac, SAAB, Isuzu – that were destroyed because of the company being so vast and so inefficient at managing itself. SAAB itself had the problem of being Americanized. Before GM SAAB was known for quality, safe and exhilarating to drive automobiles. But GM’s poor management and allocation of finances ruined the brand beyond repair. Same story with Pontiac. Within GM Pontiac was a star player, selling exciting, fun pony cars. But as the years went by, some ridiculous models started to roll out of GM’s factories – Solstice (a roadster with no luggage compartment …in 2005!), G6 (it was just…some car. Even Oprah Winfrey’s give-away didn’t make this car more interesting), many ridiculously lazily restyled badge-engineered GM cars and Pontiac Aztek, the worst looking car in the known world ever.
So this is why I am now no longer considering to get behind the wheel of a GM-branded car (might be a passenger, but I wouldn’t drive one myself, even if it would be given to me). I just think that this kind of attitude from a car company to their highly valuable customers is totally unacceptable and childish and any other car company that has done that in the history of car industry have met a fatal outcome for them.