GM Engineers – One Now a NHTSA Executive – Were Told in July 2004
Automotive News in an excellent article has unveiled key documents in GM & NHTSA Recall scandal.
GM Told in July 2004
“A July 1, 2004, report by Siemens VDO Automotive analyzed why frontal and side-impact airbag sensors simultaneously shut down less than two-tenths of a second after the moment of impact. It was written a little more than a month before GM began building the first Cobalts.
The report, released this week by a congressional committee investigating GM, examined both the results of the crash test and a series of laboratory simulations run by Siemens VDO to determine how the airbag sensors would respond to a loss of power. The cutoff of the sensors “appeared to be indicative of an ignition cycle,” Siemens engineer Douglas McConnell wrote.
“He concluded: “It is recommended that future severe crashes have ignition voltage and [in-vehicle network] messages monitored to determine the root cause of the … Power Off issue.”
“The document doesn’t identify the flimsy ignition switch as the culprit in the power loss. But it is significant because it shows that, before the first production Cobalt ever left the assembly plant, a GM-commissioned analysis had flagged a potential connection between a loss of power and airbags not deploying, and recommended that GM seek a root cause….”
GM Engineer Told in 2004 – Now in Charge at NHTSA
“Officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have said they did not realize that GM had designed its airbags to not deploy when the ignition was out of the “run” position….”
“The Siemens report shows that it was provided to five GM engineers, one of whom has worked for NHTSA since 2007.
“That engineer, Matthew Craig, identifies himself on LinkedIn as a former safety performance integration team leader at GM and now NHTSA’s chief of human injury research. Craig referred a request to discuss the report to a NHTSA spokeswoman, who declined comment….
“At the time the Siemens report was prepared, only one of the 13 deaths that GM now links to failed airbags caused by faulty ignition switches had occurred. The second of those fatal crashes happened three days later. Both crashes involved 2004 Saturn Ions, which used the same ignition switch as the Cobalt.
GM started production of the Cobalt in August 2004. The Siemens report wasn’t mentioned in Valukas’ report; neither were any of the five GM engineers shown as receiving it.” See article and readers comments at
Why Has NHTSA Failed?
Readers may recall that I have pointed to the NHTSA GM connections and associated, at the least, appearance of conflicts of interests to be examined in this and other failures to protect Americans from crash injuries. Dr. Matthew Craig has long held an important executive position in NHTSA. The Human Injury Research Program, that Dr. Craig is head of at NHTSA, is charged with investigation of crash injuries to determine what could be done to prevent the tragic consequences of crashes. See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/CFCV-MonthlyReport-March2014-2%20.pdf