The report examines the consequences of a provision in the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies which allows the automakers to shed liability for the vehicles built pre-bankruptcy. While both would be responsible for launching recalls and repairing defects in their current fleet, they would not be responsible for injuries and deaths caused by those defects. This leaves thousands of individuals and families who have current claims uncompensated for injuries or deaths caused by defective vehicles. The loophole will also wipe out any future claims.
The report, released by Safety Research & Strategies, finds that between the third quarter of 2003 and the fourth quarter of 2008, Chrysler fielded 3,497 death and injury claims; GM fielded 15,284. These represent an annual average of 636 and 2,779 casualties (individual deaths and injuries) respectively. With more than 40 million vehicles in the U.S. fleet, the two companies accounted for 47 percent of all claims filed against auto manufacturers during that time period. Yet, GM and Chrysler only represent 38 percent of the market share.
"Combined, GM and Chrysler have a disproportionate share of the claims," said
From 2004 to 2008, Chrysler issued 109 recalls, affecting 11.4 million vehicles; GM launched 129 recalls, affecting 19 million vehicles. The absence of death and injury claims will likely decrease the number of recalls and remedies GM and Chrysler will conduct after the bankruptcies.
"Automakers and NHTSA use death and injury data to monitor and recall defective vehicles," Kane added. "If the claims aren't filed, we lose an important defect surveillance tool. And if the companies bear no liability for deaths and injuries caused by the uncorrected defects, what incentive do they have to recall?"
The report, which includes a full state-by-state breakdown of claims, finds that
Safety Research & Strategies is a consulting and advocacy firm based in
To view the full report, go to: http://www.safetyresearch.net/chrysler-gm-bankruptcy/.
SOURCE Safety Research & Strategies, Inc.