GM fires 15 following faulty ignition switch investigation

DELAWARE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — General Motors has fired 15 employees after an internal investigation into the faulty ignition switch issues. The recall affects 2.6 million vehicles and GM links the issue to the deaths of 13 people.

CEO Mary Barra also announced the creation of a compensation fund for the families of those killed during a town hall meeting on Thursday.

Barra said customers need to feel they can count on the company, but one Delaware County resident says her trust tank is running on empty. She’s one of more than 2.5 million waiting for their vehicle to be repaired.

“For this to go back to 2001 that they were aware of this problem and here we are in this point of time in June and nobody knows when parts are going to be available, it’s insane,” Gail Whitmire said. She owns a 2007 Chevy Cobalt.

“We ended up just driving the car over to the dealership and saying we want to leave it here, then when the parts come in, it will be here and you can get to it right away,” Whitmire said.

That was nearly two months ago and since then, Gail has been driving a rental and Sam Pierce Chevrolet is still waiting for her part.

Barra spoke out to those who have lost loved ones due to the ignition switch issue.

“Our job is clear: To build high quality, safe vehicles. In this case, with these vehicles, we simply didn’t do our job,” Barra said.

15 GM employees were fired and five more disciplined. There’s a new VP of Safety and now 35 safety investigators. General Motors says they plan to have all of the recalled vehicles fixed by October, but that might not be the end.

“In the near term, you might expect to see a few more recall announcements,” Barra said.

For Gail, it’s not enough.

“We only have our problem with the difficulty of not feeling safe to drive the vehicle. If we were among those who’ve lost loved ones because of this mess up, I don’t know how we would be handling it,” Whitmire said.

As of Thursday, GM says 86,000 of the recalled 2.6 million have been fixed. That’s less than 4 percent. The recall includes Chevy Cobalts, Pontiac G-5’s and the Saturn Ion. GM says the cars are safe as long as customers only use the key and have no extra items on their key chains.

It’s a good idea to contact a dealership immediately if your vehicle is affected, because some service departments do not order the part until you bring the car in to the dealership.

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