If the nation’s long history of product recalls and corporate screw-ups is any indication, General Motors Co.
will survive the burgeoning ignition switch controversy already blamed for a dozen deaths.
But at what cost? The Detroit automaker got a strong hint Wednesday, when federal authorities handed rival Toyota Motor Corp. a $1.2 billion fine and three years probation for stonewalling a government investigation into alleged unintended acceleration of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Litigation, legal bills and associated expenses total nearly $2 billion more.
Dollars and cents, however, are not the only corporate asset imperiled by the negative PR of recalls and how management does — or does not — handle them. GM’s ignition switch flap, emerging just weeks into Mary Barra’s tenure as CEO, threatens a fragile reputation just beginning to recover from five years of bailout, bankruptcy and the burden of the “Government Motors” rap.Read Article