October 19, 2017

GM owes CT, others $120M in ignition flap

Connecticut will share in a tentative $120 million settlement with General Motors over allegations the auto giant hid safety issues tied to faulty ignition switches in certain car models, authorities say.

State Attorney General George Jepsen's office said Thursday Connecticut would collect $3.2 million if a court approves the settlement between GM and 48 states and the District of Columbia.

Of its share, $350,000 would go into the AG's Consumer Protection Fund, and the rest into the state's "rainy day,'' or General Fund. Jepsen said his office represented Connecticut by serving on the multistate investigation's nine-state executive committee.

The investigation was launched in 2014 following National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recalls into the defective ignition switches. That year, GM issued seven vehicle recalls in response to unintended key-rotation and ignition-switch issues, which have affected more than 9 million vehicles nationwide.

The recalls involved a defective ignition switch that, under certain circumstances, could move out of the "run" position into the "accessory" or "off" position, causing electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes, to become inoperable.

If a collision occurs while the ignition switch is in "accessory" or "off," the vehicle's safety airbags may also fail to deploy, increasing the risk of serious injury or death that the airbag was designed to prevent.

Connecticut and its municipal co-plaintiffs alleged that certain GM employees knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect because it could cause airbag non-deployment.

"Automakers, like any manufacturer, have a responsibility under state law to be truthful in the representations they make about their products," Jepsen said in a statement.

In addition to the monetary payment, GM agreed to instruct its dealers that all applicable safety repairs be completed before any GM motor vehicle sold in the U.S. and included in a recall is eligible for certification. If there is a recall on any certified pre-owned vehicle sold in the U.S., the required repair must be completed before the vehicle is delivered to a consumer.

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