After much drama and increasing tensions, General Motors has started cleaning house. So far, 15 employees have been fired as a result of the now-released Valukas Report, which focuses on the whole ignition switch recall. The report was conducted by Anton Valukas, who is a former US Attorney and currently works for Jenner & Block.
Even though there are those who will still scream that the Valukas Report is all part of an elaborate cover-up involving GM management, President Obama, Justin Bieber, and Kermit the Frog, the report is actually pretty brutal. The report does absolve current GM management from any wrongdoing, stating that there was no attempt to cover up the problem once it was uncovered by them. Where the report is revealing is how it illustrates a level of gross incompetence inside the automaker, where nobody took ownership of the ignition problem and instead tried to pass the buck.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the report involves the actions, or rather inactions, of the GM engineering teams. They immediately identified the ignition switch as being faulty, but labeled it an issue pertaining to convenience instead of safety. The families of the 13 confirmed dead from the faulty switch would most certainly disagree with that assessment. Rather than swap out all of the faulty switches, the engineers studied the problem for years and years, believing that the airbags not deploying was related to a different, root problem they had not yet uncovered. Essentially, the engineering teams engaged in a unicorn hunt that of course did not even address the real, and painfully obvious, problem.
GM needs to change, fast, and make some serious movements toward convincing the public it is fixing the faulty corporate structure that allowed such a situation to arise. The Valukas Report actually addresses what GM needs to do, which includes increasing individual accountability in the company, and treating defects in vehicles as potential safety issues. The automaker is still in considerable peril, looking at multiple criminal charges from the Justice Department, plus an ongoing House committee investigation, plus an ongoing investigation by the NHTSA.