WHAT HAPPENED: General Motors has recalled almost 2.6 million small cars for defective ignition switches that can cause them to stall without warning. GM links 12 deaths to the defect.
GOVERNMENT'S ROLE: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration never opened an investigation, which could have prompted an earlier recall of the Chevrolet Cobalt and other small cars. It said it couldn't establish a trend. But a review by The Associated Press shows more stalling complaints for the Cobalt than for most other small cars.
WHAT'S NEXT: The heads of GM and NHTSA testify before House and Senate subcommittees next week.