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March 30, 2020

GM agrees another ignition switch related settlement

General Motors reportedly has reached a US$120m settlement with owners who claimed that their vehicles lost value because of defective ignition switches, which have been linked to 124 deaths.

By Olly Wehring

General Motors reportedly has reached a US$120m settlement with owners who claimed that their vehicles lost value because of defective ignition switches, which have been linked to 124 deaths.

If that requires a scrape of the memory banks, allow our Hot Topic to aid recall – this issue dates back to 2014 and affected vehicles initially were in the 2005 to 2007 model year range.

According to Reuters, the preliminary settlement was filed on Friday night with the federal court in Manhattan and requires approval by US District Judge Jesse Furman. It would resolve the last major piece of litigation stemming from ignition switches that could cause GM vehicles to stall and prevent airbags from deploying.

The automaker denied liability in agreeing to settle, court papers show.

Reuters said GM now has recalled over 2.6m vehicles since 2014 over the switches, covering vehicles dating back more than a decade earlier. It has also paid more than $2.6bn in penalties and settlements, including $900m to settle a US Department of Justice criminal case.

Friday’s settlement resolves claims by owners who said they suffered economic losses from buying vehicles they thought were defect free, only to see the ignition switch problem hurt GM’s brand, reputation and resale values.

Reuters said GM woud contribute up to $70m toward the settlement while a trust set up in connection with the automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy would contribute $50m.

GM also would pay as much as $34.5m to cover legal fees and expenses of the owners’ lawyers.

“GM believes the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate,” the automaker told Reuters.

“GM took the lessons it learned from the ignition switch recalls and has transformed its culture to focus on customer safety.”

Prior to Friday’s settlement, GM had resolved or obtained dismissals of most of the more than 3,000 personal injury and wrongful death claims overseen by Furman, Reuters said.

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