You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

GM's Mary Barra: I don't have any answers, but I'm 'deeply sorry'

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/31/2014 Motor Trend Editors
MotorTrend Image
Mary Barra© Provided by MotorTrend Mary Barra

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra on Tuesday is scheduled to go before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and try to answer questions about the company's massive recall of vehicles for faulty ignition switches that can shut the car down during driving.

At least 12 deaths are linked to the problem, which GM has known about for years but failed to act.

Following is Barra's planned opening statement to the Subcommittee On Oversight And Investigations.

Chairmen Murphy and Upton, Ranking Members DeGette and Waxman, members of thecommittee…

My name is Mary Barra, and I am the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors.I appreciate the opportunity to be here today.

More than a decade ago, GM embarked on a small-car program. Sitting here today, I cannot tell you why it took years for a safety defect to be announced in that program, but I can tell you thatwe will find out.

When we have answers, we will be fully transparent with you, with our regulators, and with ourcustomers.As soon as l learned about the problem, we acted without hesitation. We told the world we hada problem that needed to be fixed. We did so because whatever mistakes were made in thepast, we will not shirk from our responsibilities now and in the future. Today’s GM will do the right thing.

That begins with my sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected by this recall…especially to the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured. I am deeplysorry.

I’ve asked former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas to conduct a thorough and unimpededinvestigation of the actions of General Motors. He has free rein to go where the facts take him,regardless of the outcome. The facts will be the facts. Once they are in, my management teamand I will use his findings to help assure this does not happen again. We will hold ourselves fullyaccountable.

However, I want to stress that I’m not waiting for his results to make changes.I’ve named a new vice president for Global Vehicle Safety, Jeff Boyer . This is a first for GM. Jeff’s first priority is to quickly identify and resolve anyand all product safety issues. He is not taking on this task alone. I stand with him. My seniormanagement team stands with him. And we will welcome input from outside GM — from you,from NHTSA, from Mr. Valukas’ findings, from our customers, from our dealers, and from ourcurrent and former employees.

This latest round of recalls demonstrates just how serious we are about the way we will dothings at the new GM. We identified these issues. We brought them forward and we are fixingthem. I have asked our team to keep stressing the system at GM and work with one thing inmind — our customers and their safety are at the center of everything we do.


Our customers who have been affected by this recall are getting our full and undivided attention.We’re talking directly to them through a dedicated website, with constantly updated information,and through social media platforms. We’ve trained and assigned more people to our customercall centers, and wait times are down to seconds. And, of course, we’re sending customerswritten information through the mail.

These measures are only the first in making things right and rebuilding trust with our customers.As I’ve reminded our employees, getting the cars repaired is only the first step. Givingcustomers the best support possible throughout this process is how we will be judged.I would like this committee to know that all of our GM employees and I are determined to set anew standard. And I am encouraged to say that everyone at GM—up to and including our Boardof Directors—supports this.

I’m a second-generation GM employee and I’m here as the CEO, but I’m also here representingthe men and women who are part of today’s GM and are dedicated to putting the highest-qualityand safest vehicles on the road.

I recently held a town hall meeting to formally introduce our new VP of global vehicle safety tothe company. We met at our Technical Center, one of the places where the men and womenwho engineer our vehicles work. They are the brains behind our cars, but they are also the heartof GM.

It was a tough meeting. Like me, they are disappointed and upset. I could see it in their faces,and could hear it in their voices. They had many of the same questions that I suspect are onyour minds. They want to make things better for our customers, and in the process, make GMbetter.

That’s what I’m committed to doing.I would now be happy to answer your questions.Thank you.


More from Motor Trend


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon