WASHINGTON -- General Motors (IW 500/5) chief executive Mary Barra said Thursday that the company would take full responsibility for the faulty ignition scandal and compensate victims of accidents tied to the defects.
Barra said the saga of the ignitions on Chevrolet Cobalts and other models, which led to at least 13 deaths, was "riddled with failure" but that there was no management conspiracy to cover up 11 years of inaction.
Barra said after the completion of an independent investigation that the company had fired 15 officials, more than half of them executives, for their incorrect or irresponsible actions.
"The Cobalt saga was riddled with failure," she told a meeting of company employees.
"We misdiagnosed the problem from the very beginning... We have to own this problem."
Despite the involvement of senior executives in the failure to act on the problem when it was known, Barra said the findings of the investigation by former U.S. attorney Anton Valukas found no coordinated effort to hide the problem.
There was "no conspiracy by the corporation to cover up facts," Barra said, citing the Valukas report.
GM is under federal and congressional investigation for not having acted for years on the deadly problem until this year, and victims and families of victims have filed lawsuits against the company for damages which analysts say could run to the billions of dollars.
GM is creating a fund for the victims and have retained a high-powered injury compensation lawyer to come up with a plan.
"We are going to do the right thing for the affected parties," she said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014