General Motors Company has lost another executive amid reports that the company delayed a recall of 2.6 million vehicles with dangerous defects.
The New York Times reports that GM's senior engineer Jim Federico will retire after working for the company for 36 years. Federico oversaw GM's global vehicle registration operations. He is the fourth GM executive to resign or retire since reports surfaced that the automaker failed to recall vehicles with an ignition switch product defect linked to a dozen deaths.
Federico was previously the chief engineer responsible for the company's small-car division and he was involved with studying the defective ignition switches. The Detroit Free Press reports that Federico's investigation of the product defect came a year before the company issued a recall and a decade after the defect was first discovered by GM engineers.
A General Motors spokesperson told reporters that Federico's retirement was voluntary and not due to the ignition switch problem.
"Jim Federico has decided to retire and pursue other interests," said GM spokesman, Greg Martin. "This is not switch-related."
GM's defective ignition switches can unintentionally shut a car's systems off during operation when jostled. Several consumers have been injured or killed because of GM ignition switches which disabled airbag deployments. The government has now fined the auto maker 35 million dollars.
The ignition switch problem impacts at least 2.6 million cars, mostly manufactured between 2003 and 2007. The company suspended two engineers who were involved in changing the ignition switch design without changing the part number. Some congressional leaders have suggested that this unusual action was taken to cover up the defect.
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