While GM is the main focus of automotive critics at the moment, Tesla is tidying up some of its own loose ends. Tesla plans to reinforce the undercarriage of about 16,000 cars with high-strength, titanium shields to reduce the risk of road debris puncturing the battery pack during unusual circumstances.
The National HIghway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) had been investigating two recent Tesla Model S fires, but hadn’t identified a safety defect that would warrant a recall. Tesla said the retrofittings are voluntary and must cars serviced at a certified Tesla service center, said Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book analyst in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
In November, Tesla updated the car’s software to raise the ride height of the vehicle in hopes of allowing larger pieces of debris to pass freely underneath the car, preventing debris from penetrating the battery pack.
“We felt it was important to bring this risk down to virtually zero to give Model S owners complete peace of mind,” Musk said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
General Motors has had a recent bout of very bad PR. A recent, and long hidden defect has reared its ugly head. GM has known about the defect, yet has done little to rectify the problem. Now, in the midst of the negative PR, GM has halted the sales of all 1.4-liter turbocharged Chevrolet Cruzes.
The Cruze is GM’s best selling car in America and the current halt on sales affects about 20,000 cars. GM spokesman Alan Adler said he didn’t know what halted the sale of the car, but did say that it wasn’t because of a recall.
While on the surface this looks like negative, it could bode as a positive for the company. The halt on sales makes GM appear proactive in catching any other potential future recalls.
“GM has to do more than appear to be making changes. They need to have verifiable shifts in how they handle safety issues,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for sales tracker Kelley Blue Book, in an interview with CNN Money. “What’s the big problem with the ignition switch—that they didn’t act quickly enough. Now they’re responding at the first signs of any problem.”
For the first time in automotive history, there will be a woman leading a major automaker. Mary Barra, currently executive vice president of global product development, will become CEO of General Motors on January 15. Currently CEO Dan Akerson is stepping down after his wife was diagnosed with cancer.
“I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed,” Barra said in a statement.
Akerson promoted Barra to her current role in 2011 after she was vice president of global human resources. Akerson become CEO of GM in September 2010 amid the company’s bankruptcy.
Barra, 51, started her career at GM in 1980 as a co-op student at Pontiac. She earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Kettering University. She moved through several engineering and managerial positions through her time at GM.
“It was like watching your daughter graduate from college,” Akerson said in a conference call. “I’m very proud that she’s going to lead this company going forward. I’m very confident she’ll do a good job.”
Akerson’s announcement comes just one day after the U.S. Treasury completed its final sale of GM shares.
If you need a car accident lawyer, call The Law Offices of Koenig and Nguyen at 877-720-5779.