General Motors – it seems like every time you open a newspaper or click to read the news online you see GM mentioned. And it’s not in a favorable way.

Some time ago GM admitted that some of their vehicles contained faulty ignition switches. Thus far they've received 2710 claims for compensation for the ignition switch defects. These claims included 303 for death, 202 for catastrophic injury and 2,205 for less serious injuries that still required hospitalization.

Recognizing this issue GM, according to the report, set aside an initial 400 million dollars (yes that's almost half a billion) to cover the compensation cost for claims on behalf of those who were injured or killed due to these faulty ignition switches.

I don't know whether you are as disturbed as we are by this report. All too often of late, there have been an overwhelming number of automobile recalls (not just from GM) due to issues that could result in injury or death of a driver or passenger. That’s not just our perspective. In fact the same publication reported that Automobile recalls in 2014 topped 60 million. That was double the previous recall record set in 2004.

These stats should cause all consumers to ponder the question, “What is going on with the Automobile industry?” Are these parts not being thoroughly tested? Are employees not thoroughly vetted? Are there corporate political issues going on behind the scenes?

It’s likely all of the above and that’s just for starters. Meanwhile, it’s up to you to perform your due diligence and ensure that the car you’re purchasing is the safest and best one for you.

Meanwhile, there are two things that could help to prevent such needless injuries and death in the future.

First is accountability. We are actually seeing this play out in these cases against General Motors. While they have set aside a certain amount of money for compensation, it still negatively impacts their bottom line of profitability and return to shareholders. And once the shareholders get frustrated there's no turning back. Legal remedy in situations where there has been injury and death helps to hold those who are irresponsible accountable.

Second, quality control. Perhaps there needs to be more testing on these parts before they are placed into automobiles. Using lesser quality parts up front seems to save at the beginning but lawsuits like GM is now experiencing costs more in the end. It seems that using quality parts initially actually results in costs savings overall. Big corporations need to look at the big picture. 

This is certainly not an indictment on all car companies. Before you purchase an automobile check some things out. Research safety ratings, crash history (if it is a pre-owned vehicle) and overall customer satisfaction. It is also important to research the manufacturer of the car. Check out their philosophy and mission statement. See if there have been any company complaints and/or lawsuits in the past. Most of all go with your intuition. It could prevent a lot of heartache later.

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