GM ready for additional recalls, CEO sees no value in firing more staffby Justin King
Mary Barra denies coverup, continues to dodge death-count question.
General Motors has continued its crisis management campaign, sending CEO Mary Barra for a "Today Show" interview with Matt Lauer.
The executive continues to dodge direct questions regarding the company's count of 13 deaths related to the ignition-switch defect that surfaced in February. She argues that "people have misunderstood," and that the number only represents the initial findings "when we first looked into this issue."
The company revised its count at least once in the months following the recall announcement, adding just one fatality to the list. Critics, including families of crash victims that were not included in the tally, suggest the real number of fatalities is likely much higher.
"Our compensation program that we're doing, we want every single person who either lost or had a serious physical injury to be a part of that program because we want to do the right thing," Barra said.
Despite the promises, the company's attorneys are still attempting to invoke the bankruptcy liability shield in lawsuits that have been filed by estates of accident victims. The practice has been defended as "procedural," however a court ruling absolving the 'new GM' of liability could have a significant impact on the settlement offers from the company's victims-compensation fund.
Lauer also asked Barra if she was considering firing more workers in addition to the 15 already ousted. She suggests the company's internal investigation was "exhaustive," identifying individuals that she did not think should be part of the company, and all of those workers "aren't here anymore."
The interview followed on the heels of reports pointing to yet another recall, with defective airbag parts leading to a stop-sale order for new Chevrolet Cruze sedans. Barra avoided specific questions regarding expectations of additional recalls, admitting that "it's possible."