A former head of General Motors corporate quality audit warned the company’s board in a letter in 2002 that it needed to “stop the continued shipment of unsafe vehicles” and “recall suspect vehicles that were already in customers’ hands.”
The letter from William McAleer shows that GM's directors and top management were told about serious safety defects in vehicles that were coming off the company’s production lines more than 11 years before GM recalled millions of vehicles for faulty ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths. The contents have not been previously published.
GM spokesman Jim Cain said he was unable to address the details of the events 12 years ago, but that the company would take such concerns seriously today.
"We are conducting what we believe is the most exhaustive and comprehensive safety review in the history of the company, and that includes looking at vehicles that were built in the late 1990s. And if we find anything that is a safety issue, we will act," he said.