This Disturbing Powerpoint Shows Why GM Failed To Protect Customers

Illustration for article titled This Disturbing Powerpoint Shows Why GM Failed To Protect Customers

If there's a smoking gun in this whole GM fiasco it might be this: An internal PowerPoint presentation released by the government that makes it clear the company went to great lengths to discourage people from talking frankly about safety problems, even if that problem scared them, their family, and was obviously a screw up.

That's the gist of this unintentionally grim and morbidly hilarious 2008 PowerPoint presentation, released as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's order fining GM $35 million and ordering them to revise their safety policies in the wake of the massive and deadly Cobalt ignition defects.

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This slide has a handy chart of words to avoid when reporting a defect. They include "debilitating," "crippling," "deathtrap," and perhaps my favorite, "Corvair-like."

In one slide, they even ask engineers not to use the word "safety," but to use "issue, condition or matter" instead.

While it's true most, if not all, automakers have specific guidelines for reporting problems, and they want reports to be as specific as possible, these guidelines come off as dismissive of safety issues. More than anything, they seem designed to shield GM from lawsuits and bad press, rather than build safe cars in the first place.

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Illustration for article titled This Disturbing Powerpoint Shows Why GM Failed To Protect Customers

The full presentation, including NHTSA's order, can be found here.

Illustration for article titled This Disturbing Powerpoint Shows Why GM Failed To Protect Customers
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Illustration for article titled This Disturbing Powerpoint Shows Why GM Failed To Protect Customers
Illustration for article titled This Disturbing Powerpoint Shows Why GM Failed To Protect Customers
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Illustration for article titled This Disturbing Powerpoint Shows Why GM Failed To Protect Customers
Illustration for article titled This Disturbing Powerpoint Shows Why GM Failed To Protect Customers
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Illustration for article titled This Disturbing Powerpoint Shows Why GM Failed To Protect Customers

What's the worst part? It's hard to even say.

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DISCUSSION

themanwithsauce
themanwithsauce - has as many vehicles as job titles

To a point, that memo is correct. Just saying "This is a lawsuit waiting to happen" doesn't state the problem to be documented and passed along. This means nothing is really done about whatever the issue could be. HOWEVER, I think a more telling memo or powerpoint would be how they address someone spelling out in detail "When ______ fails, it causes the vehicle to lose the ability to steer which would be in violation of FMV standard XYZ and could lead to a legal dispute in the event of an accident."

Sidenote - the powerpoint that warned about word choice due to phrases being taken out of context? Has plenty of material that can be taken out of context.