"[If] there was any risk, I would ground these vehicles across the country," Barra said. The first female CEO of a major global automaker, Barra was hammered on Capitol Hill by critics who suggested the automaker was engaging in a cover-up of the ignition switch problem, which now covers nearly 2.6 million vehicles.
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Some of the loudest voices in the request to ground all recalled GM vehicles are those of plaintiffs' attorneys, who are suing GM in connection with ignition switch crashes, or who are putting together possible class action lawsuits.
That includes Texas personal injury attorney Robert Hilliard, who will ask a federal judge on Friday to order GM to tell owners the vehicles are unsafe to drive.
"Ground every recalled vehicle and do to it now," Hilliard demanded in a letter sent to Barra on Thursday. The attorney cited a claim by Laura Valle, the owner of a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, who claimed to have had her car stall out last month even though she had removed all but the ignition key from her key ring.
Click here to see GM's recall notice.
Hilliard's request will go before U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in the federal court of Corpus Christi, Texas, on Friday afternoon.
To date, GM has provided about 13,000 loaner vehicles, but going much beyond that could be a challenge. Several of the automaker's dealers have said they've already had trouble coming up with temporary replacements from local rental car firms.
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GM plans to begin replacing the defective ignition switches next week, but the process is expected to take months to complete.