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General Motors' problems with its recall of roughly 1.6-million vehicles continue to mount. Now that it has emerged that GM knew about the problem since at least 2004 but waited to recall vehicles until February 2014, regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have begun a much deeper investigation. NHTSA has sent a 27-page survey to GM that includes 107 questions about the timeline of what led up to the recall, and it has until April 3 to reply.
This isn't a simple, multiple-choice test. Automotive News believes that hundreds of pages could be required to answer some of the queries. NHTSA says that it is still investigating GM's response to the recall. "We are a data-driven organization, and we will take whatever action is appropriate based on where our findings lead us," said NHTSA in a statement on its website. If found liable, the automaker could face a fine as high as $35 million and even possible criminal charges, according to Bloomberg.
NHTSA's questions include a detailed explanation of GM's examination process; how it will improve the process; why a planned redesign of the cars' key in 2005 wasn't implemented; and specific data on each complaint it received. According to Bloomberg, NHTSA also has records that show the company had a meeting with regulators to discuss the airbag failure in a Chevrolet Cobalt in 2007.
New GM CEO Mary Barra has also hired an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation about what happened. It will include questioning company employees who were involved with the process from the start. The recall stems from faulty ignition switches that shut off the car while driving, and if it occurs the airbags deactivate. Thirteen deaths and 23 crashes have been caused by the problem, according to Bloomberg. If you would like to peruse NHTSA's entire questionnaire for GM, it can be viewed here.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Conspicuous by its absence from Chevy’s 2012 line of crossovers, the HHR has been dropped. The HHR (Heritage High Roof) first arrived as a 2006 model, and was left largely unchanged through its lifespan. Enthusiasts may recall the HHR SS introduced as a 2008, a neat little hot rod boasting a 2.0L turbo four rated at 260hp, a five-speed manual and racy bodywork. The HHR SS was dropped after 2010. Apart from that model, the HHR was a fairly unremarkable, but capable vehicle.
Personally, it is a car I am not sad to see go the way of the dodo. Chevy, as a brand, is moving forward with interesting new product, and the HHR was a reminder of Chevy’s recent misguided past. Spurred by the raging initial success of the Chrysler PT Cruiser, and with no original idea of their own, Chevy poached the guy who designed the PT Cruiser and charged him with designing basically the same car, but this time drawing inspiration from the 1949 Chevy Suburban. And he did just that, but by the time the HHR arrived, the PT Cruiser was in its sixth year of production, and the hype had long since faded. While the HHR did outlast the PT, such a retro design left little or no room for the HHR to evolve. The Chevy of today was smart to let the HHR quietly die.