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Public doesn’t care about recalls: Former GM exec

General Motors' mounting recalls has done little to perturb the public or negatively affect sales, former GM Chairman Bob Lutz told CNBC on Wednesday.

Bob Lutz
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Bob Lutz

"This is an issue that seems to captivate the media, but the U.S. public absolutely couldn't care less," Lutz said on "Squawk on the Street." "There's very low public awareness of recalls anymore, and from what I hear from the guys back at the company is that it hasn't affected sales one bit."

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Indeed, all four of GM's U.S. brands reported April sales increases, and according to LMC Automotive research, GM's retail sales through May 18 were up 3.5 percent compared with the same period a year ago, higher than the industry average of 0.5 percent, Reuters reported.

Still, the 15.8 million vehicles globally recalled by GM in 2014 is more than last year's total U.S. new car sales by all manufacturers.

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To Lutz, though, GM is simply "cleaning out the drawer" by issuing recalls on anything that remotely resembles or threatens to be a safety issue. In doing so, the automaker can just "get it behind us" and move on.

As for CEO Mary Barra, Lutz said she should stay strong as her company muddles through this flurry of recalls.

"Be tough and say what you think and in...tough questioning, when you have to, fight back. Just don't sit there and take it."

—By CNBC's Drew Sandholm with Reuters

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