PLEDGE NOW
Mary Barra And GM’s Recall Mess

GM’s CEO in the hot seat on Capitol Hill over messy recalls and maybe a cover up. We’ll look at what happened in the so-called “New Detroit.” Plus, a look at popular electric car company Tesla Motors.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.  (AP)

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation. (AP)

We hear about the “new GM” and we want to believe it.  Then comes a story roaring up that makes you wonder.  GM recalling 2.6 million cars in the last few weeks after at least 13 deaths and a lot of accidents from a defective ignition switch.  A defect that GM knew about 13 years ago.  This week, GM’s new CEO Mary Barra in the hot seat in Congressional hearings.  Trying to explain why GM wouldn’t make a ninety-cent change that might have saved those lives.  The hot seat all the hotter because the public bailed out GM.  This hour On Point:  the GM recall mess, the “new GM” and CEO Mary Barra.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Shepardson, Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the Detroit News. (@davidshepardson)

Nick Bunkley, enterprise reporter for Automotive News. (@nickbunkley)

Micheline Maynard, visiting professor of business journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Contributor to Forbes. Author of “The End of Detroit: How The Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market.” (@MickiMaynard)

From Tom’s Reading List

Detroit News: These words to haunt GM: ‘Acceptable business case’ — “None of it is likely to wipe a stain of callous indifference from a sprawling GM technical apparatus that approved a substandard ignition switch for its small-car program only to approve a second alleged “fix” that also failed to meet specifications set by GM itself — a conundrum that Barra, an automotive engineer, struggled to explain to the committee.

The Guardian: GM sold us on a comeback. Don’t buy a CEO’s apology – buy cars that are safe — “It seems foolish that any of GM’s fairy tale was believable to anyone. After the recalls and the estimates of driver deaths, all of that talk – of the reborn American automaker, of bets paid and dollars won – seems like a hollow spectacle. And it has to make us wonder: how much were US taxpayers and the government complicit in sustaining a company that researchers had already suggested was unable to compete in the modern automotive industry?”

Automotive News: The early warnings that GM missed — “For years, as drivers complained that their Cobalts and Ions were stalling repeatedly, GM treated it as a matter of customer satisfaction, not safety. Documents show that the company either didn’t grasp the significance of the problem or didn’t consider it worthy of resources.”

The Growth And Market Share Of Tesla Motors

Cory Johnson, co-anchor and editor at large of Bloomberg TV’s Bloomberg West. (@CoryTV)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio Senate OKs compromise to allow 3 Tesla Motors stores in Ohio — ” Dealers said Tesla shouldn’t have been granted a license because state rules require an agreement between franchise dealers and manufacturers. But Tesla does not sell through franchised dealerships. Customers can visit small showrooms to look at cars, ask questions and take test drives, but they order and purchase vehicles online.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 31, 2016
This 2006 colorized scanning electron micrograph image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the O157:H7 strain of the E. coli bacteria. On Wednesday, May 26, 2016, U.S. military officials reported the first U.S. human case of bacteria resistant to an antibiotic used as a last resort drug. The 49-year-old woman has recovered from an infection of E. coli resistant to colistin. But officials fear that if the resistance spreads to other bacteria, the country may soon see germs impervious to all antibiotics. (Janice Carr/CDC via AP)

A new superbug resistant to every antibiotic has shown up in the U.S. We look at the threat, and our dwindling antibiotic options.

May 31, 2016
In this July 31, 2015, file photo, an orca or killer whale breaches in view of Mount Baker, some 60 miles distant, in the Salish Sea in the San Juan Islands, Wash. ( (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

The end of orcas at SeaWorld, McDonald’s using cage-free eggs — should animal lovers be optimistic about a new “humane economy”?

RECENT
SHOWS
May 30, 2016
Rock icon Donald Fagen looks back on a lengthy and ongoing career in his new memoir 'Eminent Hipsters.' He co-founded the classic rock group Steely Dan with Walter Becker in 1972. (Penguin Books USA)

Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen talks “eminent hipsters” and the cultural outliers that shaped his sound. He joins us.

 
May 30, 2016
Author and Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy. (Photo by Bob O'Connor / Courtesy The Author)

Strike a power pose. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy on the power of presence when you’re ready to act and win.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
In The Garden, Mother Nature Makes The Rules
Friday, May 27, 2016

Executive producer Karen Shiffman explains why she turns to her garden for food, friends and natrual comfort.

More »
Comment
 
WWII Vet Larry Kirby Reflects On American Values
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Looking ahead to Memorial Day, a World War II veteran looks back at the experiences that mattered to him, both in and out of war.

More »
Comment
 
Gloria Steinem Explains Her ‘Bernie Boys’ Comment
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem explains why her apparent diss of female supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders was anything but.

More »
Comment