DETROIT (AP) — General Motors CEO Mary Barra has told Washington lawmakers that GM could simultaneously release an internal investigation into a deadly ignition switch problem and its plan to compensate victims.
Barra met with lawmakers Wednesday on Capitol Hill and told them the investigation and compensation plan could be done in a few weeks, said the aide, who asked not to be identified because the meetings were private.
She also told lawmakers GM can't keep up with demand for replacement ignition parts for its recall of 2.6 million older small cars. GM expects to catch up in July and start a campaign to persuade people to take cars to dealers for repairs, the CEO told legislators, according to the aide.
The ignition switches in older small cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion can slip unexpectedly out of the "run" position, shutting off the engine and knocking out power steering and brakes. The switches also can disable the air bags. Many victims have lost control of their cars and crashed. GM links the switch problem to 13 deaths, but trial lawyers suing the company say it's in excess of 53.
Congress and Justice Department are investigating GM's slow response to the safety problem. The company has agreed to pay a $35 million fine assessed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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