Survey: Consumers Distrust GM; Oppose Liability Exemption

SurveyToday we released the results of a new survey that reveals the majority of consumers believe General Motors deliberately tried to cover up the deadly recall delay of 1.6 million vehicles. The survey findings also show consumers believe the federal government bailout in 2009 allowed GM to avoid liability for the deaths, and has also helped the company avoid making necessary changes to improve its corporate culture and business operations. 

The survey, conducted on April 10, 2014 by McLaughlin and Associates, was released at the 2014 New York International Auto Show in the wake of GM CEO Mary Barra’s testimony before House and Senate Committee hearings on the company’s decade-late vehicle recall that is connected to 13 deaths and dozens of injuries.

According to the survey of 1,000 consumers, nearly 70 percent believe GM engaged in a deliberate cover up.  When asked which of the below choices comes closest to what they believe about GM’s failure to fix the ignition switch problems or recall the cars for many years:

•  67.7 believe it was a deliberate cover up

•  12.9 percent believe GM did not know

•  19.4 percent did not know

As to an awareness that the terms of the 2009 federal bailout granted GM legal immunity for all incidents prior to 2009, the survey found that nearly 80 percent of respondents believe that GM should not have any special liability protection.

When asked, “Do you believe the 2009 bankruptcy should allow GM to avoid liability for the deaths due to the flawed designs and parts in pre-2009 vehicles?”:

•  77.6 percent responded no

•  10.6 percent responded yes

•  11.8 percent did not know

And, when asked about their opinion of the government bailout of GM, more than half responded that it has allowed GM to avoid making important changes that any other company would have been forced to make if it had filed for bankruptcy but continued to operate as a business. Only 27 percent think it has forced GM to improve its corporate culture and business operations.

NLPC has been closely tracking the costs and consequences of the federal government bailout of the auto industry and the emerging 2014 safety recall controversy. In fact, NLPC’s March 19 request of GM CEO Mary Barra prompted the company’s March 31 recall of 1.3 million Saturn Ions and other vehicles, bringing the total amount of GM vehicles recalled over the past month or so to over 6 million.