News

Senators press Delphi on GM recalls

Senators press Delphi on GM recalls

RECALL:A group of senators on Tuesday wrote to Delphi Chief Executive Officer Rodney O'Neal, asking for information about whether the parts supplier pushed back against GM after the automaker apparently did not accept a proposed fix to the switches. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers probing how General Motors used faulty ignition switches in many vehicles are turning their scrutiny to the supplier of the part, Delphi Automotive.

A group of senators on Tuesday wrote to Delphi Chief Executive Officer Rodney O’Neal, asking for information about whether the parts supplier pushed back against GM after the automaker apparently did not accept a proposed fix to the switches.

“It is our understanding that a fix was proposed by Delphi regarding the ignition switch in 2005 but GM did not adopt the change,” the letter said. “As we continue evaluating the GM recall it is critically important that we understand the decisions made by Delphi and the company’s interaction with GM.”

Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, signed the letter along with three fellow senators – John Thune, the top Republican on the panel, Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Dean Heller.

A spokeswoman for Delphi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Congressional investigators have so far mostly focused their attention on GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which have both come under scrutiny for not acting on years of warning signs about the deadly defect.

GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles, including Chevrolet Cobalts and other models with ignition switches prone to being bumped or jostled into accessory mode while cars were moving, which could shut off engines and disable power steering, power brakes and airbags.

The faulty part has been linked to at least 13 deaths. GM has hired former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas to conduct an internal investigation into the faulty switches and subsequent recalls.

Delphi officials have told investigators from the House of Representatives that GM approved the ignition switches, even though the parts did not appear to meet GM’s own specifications.

Delphi has also been drawn into a mounting wave of litigation for its role in producing the faulty switch that prompted the recalls.

The senators on Tuesday asked Delphi whether the parts supplier originated the discussion to fix the part, or if GM did. They also asked for the reasons why a design change was rejected in 2005, if Delphi protested the decision, and if Delphi communicated with NHTSA about the ignition switch.

The senators asked for answers by April 28.

It is unclear if Delphi executives will be called to testify. After holding hearings earlier this month with GM CEO Mary Barra and the NHTSA chief David Friedman, lawmakers expect to zero in on GM engineers critical to the development and oversight of the faulty switches.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Eric Beech; Writing by Karey Van Hall; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

No. 2 seed Tennessee beats No. 11 Gonzaga in overtime

Gonzaga’s mascot

Tennessee beat Gonzaga 73-69 in overtime on Saturday to advance to the Spokane Regional final of the NCAA Tournament.

in Local Sports

Mariners prospect Victor Sanchez passes away

seattle mariners logo generic

Seattle Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez passed away in Venezuela, the club announced Saturday.

in Sports

Kentucky remains undefeated after beating Notre Dame & moves on to Final Four

Kentucky's Trey Lyles, left, and Karl-Anthony Towns, right, listen to Willie Cauley-Stein during the team's news conference at the NCAA men's basketball tournament regional, Friday, March 27, 2015, in Cleveland. Kentucky plays Notre Dame in the final Saturday, hoping to extend their unbeaten streak and reach the Final Four.

Andrew Harrison hit two free throws with six seconds left as the Wildcats survived a 68-66 win over third seed Notre Dame.

in Local Sports

10-man FC Dallas holds off the Sounders

FC Dallas's Michel celebrates as he jogs to midfield after scoring on a penalty kick against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the second half of an MLS playoff soccer match, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas won 2-1.

FC Dallas played with 10 men for the majority of the night, the Seattle Sounders failed to capitalize and the match ended in a scoreless draw Saturday night.

in Sports

Wisconsin heads to Final Four after win over Arizona

Wisconsin Badgers Head Coach Bo Ryan works with the team during the first round of the NCAA Midwest Regional basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Badgers (35-3) denied the Wildcats (34-4) a Final Four berth for the second straight year, having beaten them by one point in overtime in Anaheim a year ago when their seeds were reversed.