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April 1, 2014

GM faces Congress over auto recalls

DETROIT — The head of the nation’s auto safety watchdog is blaming General Motors for a failure to act sooner to warn consumers of a defect in small cars that is linked to 13 deaths.

For its part, GM continues its efforts to show regulators and consumers that it’s more focused on safety, announcing the recall of another 1.5 million vehicles on Monday.

In written testimony released ahead of a House subcommittee hearing today, acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief David Friedman said GM had information connecting defective ignition switches to the non-deployment of air bags but didn’t share it until last month.

GM CEO Mary Barra also will testify. Committee members will press Barra and Friedman to explain why neither the company nor the safety agency moved to recall millions of small cars with a defective ignition switch, even though GM knew of the problem as early as 2001.

— AP

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