Stung by rising warranty costs, General Motors decided in the mid-1990s to pull design work for ignition and turn-signal switches from suppliers and put its own employees in charge.
One of the first projects for the in-house team was the ignition switch for the Saturn Ion and Chevrolet Cobalt.
"We wanted to have control over the design," Ray DeGiorgio, the lead design engineer for the Ion and Cobalt ignition switch, said in an April 2013 deposition obtained by Automotive News. "So we brought them in-house."
That part has now been linked to at least 34 crashes and 12 deaths over the past decade. It's also at the center of a deepening mystery in the wake of GM's recall of 1.6 million 2003-07 vehicles fitted with the defective ignition switch: