For the first time since the recall of 1.6 million faulty ignition switches last month, General Motors CEO Mary Barra met with reporters to discuss steps the company is taking to deal with the crisis—and to avoid repeating it in the future.
During a 45-minute discussion with reporters at the automaker's Detroit headquarters, Barra on Tuesday shed little light about why GM was so slow to recall defective cars, except to say, "Clearly this took too long."
Barra, who was named CEO in December, also said she had no knowledge of the problems involving faulty ignition switches before the matter was brought to her attention that month, as the automaker was making a decision about a possible recall.
"Late December I knew that there was an issue being analyzed but [had] no details until after the recall decision was made," Barra told reporters. "Since that time, and almost immediately after we had that and submitted the paperwork to NHTSA, I notified the board and I have been keeping the board up to date."
The timeline of events surrounding the ignition switch recall, which has been blamed for the deaths of 12 people in 31 accidents, is a critical question for investigators. Specifically, they want to know who at GM knew what, when they knew it, and how quickly the automaker took action.