Why GM’s ignition defects couldn’t have happened to anyone else, according to Forbes.
It can happen to anybody. Those words jumped out at me from James Stewart’s New York Times business column Saturday. Stewart was writing about how General Motors GM -0.53% has successfully reinvented the Buick line, which has shined despite the black eye GM has received for recalling millions of cars for faulty ignition switches that led to accidents and fatalities.
Noting that Buick has succeeded in attracting younger buyers in recent years, Stewart asked an Arizona Buick dealer if the recalls have put a damper on sales. Her reply:
“Our younger buyers don’t seem overly concerned.They remember what Toyota went through and accept that it can happen to anyone. They seem to be more forgiving or maybe just more realistic. It’s our older customers who have been calling in. They’re concerned, and they want an explanation.”
More forgiving? More realistic? An investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas revealed that GM knew about a safety defect in its ignition switches for a decade, yet it did nothing to fix the problem. At least 13 people have died in accidents related to the defect, and, by the way, we taxpayers lost some $11 billion keeping GM in business through its 2009 bankruptcy.