The House Energy and Commerce Committee led by Michigan Republican Fred Upton plans to investigate events leading up to the recall— after 13 deaths and 31 accidents— by General Motors Co. of 1.6 million vehicles, The Wall Street Journal
Upton issued a statement Monday outlining what the committee hoped to clarify:
"Did the company or regulators miss something that could have flagged these problems sooner? If the answer is yes, we must learn how and why this happened, and then determine whether this system of reporting and analyzing complaints that Congress created to save lives is being implemented and working as the law intended."
Upton sponsored the Tread Act of 2000, which mandated auto manufacturers promptly recall cars that posed a risk to driver safety.
Manufactured between 2003 and 2010, the models GM recalled last month are the 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5; 2003-07 Saturn Ion; 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR; 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice, and 2007 Saturn Sky, the Journal reported.
Early on, reports trickled in that the vehicles were stalling. This loss of power was tied to keys slipping out of the ignition on bumpy roads leading the brakes to lock-up. In accidents, the air bags did not always deploy.
The Chevy Cobalt was launched in 2004. A GM engineer reported the ignition and stalling problem but the company, unable to replicate the malfunction during test drives, opted only to issue a bulletin to dealers rather than order a recall.
In 2005, the company bought back some defective vehicles from consumers. By 2007, the automaker believed the ignition supplier had solved the problem. In 2011, the flaw unsolved, GM put together a team to investigate. Only in 2014 did the company order a recall.