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General Motors Co.

agreed Friday to pay a record-setting $35 million civil penalty for delaying a recall of 2.6 million older cars for ignition switch defects linked to 13 deaths and 32 crashes and has agreed to a consent order to make significant and wide-ranging changes.

Federal officials offered a scathing review of the Detroit automaker’s approach to safety, citing a 2008 presentation that encouraged employees in communications to be factual but "not fantastic" in writing about problems, including not using the words “defect,” “dangerous” and “safety related.”

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said GM knew ignition switch problems would turn off the airbag as early as November 2009.

“They had the information and told no one,” Foxx said. “Literally, silence can kill. What GM did was break the law.”




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Transportation Secretary Says GM Willingly Broke The Law - Fined $35 Million - Criminal Prosecution Possible

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