General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra is scheduled to testify at a U.S. congressional hearing April 1 amid a probe into why it took more than a decade to recall vehicles equipped with an ignition defect that’s been linked to a dozen deaths.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator David Friedman will also testify to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton, the committee’s chairman and a Michigan Republican, said in a statement.
“Their testimony is critical to understanding what the company and NHTSA knew about the safety problems, when they knew it, and what was done about it,” Upton said. “We want to know if this tragedy could have been prevented and what can be done to ensure the loss of life due to safety failures like this don’t happen again.”
GM was aware as long ago as 2001 that the switches could slip out of position, cutting off power. Barra said March 18 she first learned about an analysis of the stalling cars in December, weeks before she become CEO, and that she was informed of the decision to recall cars on Jan. 31.
Barra, who became Detroit-based GM’s first female CEO this year, has apologized for the lives lost and has said there would be “no sacred cows” in the company’s investigation into a failure tied to at least 31 accidents and 12 deaths.