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Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Criminal Charges Against General Motors And Deferred Prosecution Agreement With $900 Million Forfeiture

September 17, 2015

Loretta E. Lynch, the Attorney General of the United States, Anthony Foxx, the United States Secretary of Transportation, Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mark R. Rosekind, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), Calvin L. Scovel, III, Inspector General of the United States Department of Transportation (“DOT-OIG”), Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General of the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“SIGTARP”), and Diego Rodriguez, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the filing of criminal charges against General Motors Company (“GM” or the “Company”), an automotive company headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, that has designed, manufactured, assembled, and sold Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn brand vehicles, among others. GM is charged with concealing a potentially deadly safety defect from its U.S. regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), from the spring of 2012 through February 2014, and, in the process, misleading consumers concerning the safety of certain of GM’s cars. The defect consisted of an ignition switch that had been designed and manufactured with too-low torque resistance and could therefore move easily out of the “Run” position into “Accessory” or “Off” (the “Defective Switch”). When the switch moved out of Run, it could disable the affected car’s frontal airbags – increasing the risk of death and serious injury in certain types of crashes in which airbags were otherwise designed to deploy. The models equipped with the Defective Switch were the 2005, 2006, and 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt; the 2005, 2006, and 2007 Pontiac G5; the 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 Saturn Ion; the 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet HHR; the 2007 Saturn Sky; and the 2006 and 2007 Pontiac Solstice. To date, GM has acknowledged a total of 15 deaths, as well as a number of serious injuries, caused by the Defective Switch.

Updated November 2, 2017