Apr. 01 - Barra admitted to not reading all the documents submitted by GM, and had few answers when she appeared in front of a Congressional committee investigating GM's recalls. Bobbi Rebell reports.
General Motors new CEO Mary Barra was quickly put on the defense, appearing in front of a Congressional Subcommittee investigating several GM recalls tied to ignition switch problems. Representative Tim Murphy: SOUNDBITE: U.S. REPRESENTATIVE TIM MURPHY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "When GM concluded and you heard from my opening statement that the tooling cost and price pieces are too high, what does that mean?" SOUNDBITE: MARY BARRA, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I find that statement to be very disturbing. As we do this investigation and understand it in the context of the whole time line if that was the reason a decision was made that was unacceptable. That is not the way we do business in today's GM." Later, Barra admitted this was the first time she had seen a document signed by a GM engineer approving a change in the ignition switch design. Representative Steve Scalise: SOUNDBITE: U.S. REPRESENTATIVE STEVE SCALISE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This is the actual sheet that the engineer signed off on that approved the design change in the faulty ignition switch. Have you see that document before?" SOUNDBITE: MARY BARRA, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This is the first time I have seen this document." It was one of many times the new head of GM pleaded ignorance to the details behind several GM recalls tied to problems with their ignition. S&P Capital IQ's Efraim Levy: SOUNDBITE: EFRAIM LEVY, SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, S&P CAPITAL IQ (ENGLISH) SAYING: "As far as the culture at GM, it's kind of scary to find an excuse for why they would see such a safety risk, know of incidents where people had fatalities because of this, yet they continue to produce the same part." The company has hired Ken Feinberg, a lawyer who specializes in restitution payments as a consultant, but declined to say whether that meant they were establishing a victims compensation fund, but that they will evaluate the situation in the next 30-60 days. But victims families, like Laura Christian, who lost her daughter- are furious. SOUNDBITE: LAURA CHRISTIAN, MOTHER OF GM IGNITION FAILURE VICTIM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It is just a shame that corporations big corporations like gm feel that they might be large enough to hide the truth from the public but in this day and age there are many people like me who will seek to uncover that information. there is no more hiding." GM dealers have been taking the ongoing investigation in stride. John LaSorsa, CEO of LaSorsa Auto Group in New York: SOUNDBITE: JOHN LASORSA, CEO, LASORSA AUTO GROUP (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It hasn't affected us. We hear what the media hears. We do not have an inside track really. We are waiting to see how this plays out. We are confident that GM will do the right thing with the customers, I mean, that's the bottom line. As GM builds cars and technology increases, there are going to be recalls on cars. That's just the way it is." Barra faces a Senate committee on Wednesday.