General Motors Co. has “substantially completed” its vehicle recalls, CEO Mary Barra said Thursday.
“We’re working hard to make sure that as new vehicles come out, they achieve even higher levels” of quality and safety, Barra told reporters Thursday at an auto industry event in New Delhi, India. “We’re very focused to being industry leaders.”
Barra, who has been before congressional panels four times over the recalls since becoming the first female CEO of a global automaker in January, reiterated the company’s commitment to putting the consumer first. The automaker, which has sought broadened immunity from lawsuits over fallen car values following its recall of almost 29 million cars, won’t hesitate to call back more vehicles if need be, the 52-year-old CEO said.
“We’ve really benchmarked externally the aerospace industry, the nuclear industry, the industries that require a true zero-defect mentality,” Barra said. “But if at any point of time we learn there’s an issue, we’re going to put the customer in the center, and we’re going to take care of the issue and if that means a recall, we’ll do a recall.”
GM has set aside at least $400 million to pay victims of some of the 2.59 million compact cars with a potentially faulty ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths, the company said in July. The one-time charge, which it said may rise to $600 million, recall costs and other charges led to the automaker posting a second-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates.
Lawyers for GM’s customers are jostling to lead lawsuits over the faulty ignition switches. Car owners suing over the lost value of recalled vehicles have yet to learn whether they can claim $10 billion, a few hundred thousand dollars or nothing. That number will be decided later by the bankruptcy judge who presided over GM’s bailout in 2009.